All media organisations are facing challenges, but public service broadcasters will survive by adapting and understanding their audiences.

That was one of the key viewpoints from an IBCTV panel interview with a number of Europe’s leading broadcasters.

In the IBC2019 afternoon keynote session ‘Global Strategy Gamechangers: Can public service broadcasters stay relevant?’, Noel Curran, director general of the EBU, claimed that for broadcasters to stay relevant, they gain access to data that social media companies hold, especially on their younger audiences.

Speaking after the panel, Curran was asked if PSBs will survive and he said: ”We are leading the way in loads of technological developments, [we are]restructuring and changing, and following our audience. We are facing challenges and this is unprecedented. But yes, absolutely, we are going to survive.”

RTE DG Dee Forbes said: “We’re fighting for our lives here because it’s important, but we have to reinvent ourselves, and that’s exciting.” She went on to tout the importance of collaboration across broadcasters and in the content space. “We’re experimenting, we’re changing, and we’re partnering, and that is hugely exciting.”

Martjin Van Dam, of NPO, admitted collaboration with the FAANGs carries some risk. “We try to connect people to our democracies, to our culture and to each other,” he said, “but most of our commercial partners don’t have that task - they are in it for the money.” He added that the distinctive nature of PSBs gives them a unique ability to connect people.