Interaction, Co-creation and Participation in PSM Literature, Policy and Strategy: A Comparative Case Study Analysis of Flanders, the Netherlands, France and the UK


  • Anne-Sofie Vanhaeght Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Karen Donders Vrije Universiteit Brussel


public service media, audience involvement, participation, goal-means tree analysis, comparative media studies


The article critically evaluates whether there is a (mis)match between ideas on audience involvement in public service media (PSM) theory and the translation thereof in public broadcasters’ policy and strategy documents. The literature section theoretically frames this discussion, first, discussing five objectives of PSM and audience involvement. Subsequently, it studies how the BBC (UK), France Télévisions (France), VRT (Flanders), and NPO (the Netherlands) have to (policy) and intend to (strategy) involve their audiences. These cases have been selected with an eye on including both better-funded (BBC, FTV) and smaller public broadcasters (VRT, NPO), as well as different media systems. For the analysis, the method of goal-means tree analysis is adopted, a type of qualitative document analysis that can be deployed to uncover goal-means relationships in policy and strategy texts. The main argument is that, rather than a mismatch, some of the questionable, normative assumptions made in theories concerning audience involvement and PSM are also present in the PSM policy and strategy texts.