Digital Change, Crossmedia and Journalism Innovation at ARD
The digitalisation of media markets is calling the legitimacy of public broadcasting into question. Willingness to pay a licence fee is declining, and young people hardly use radio and television anymore. How is ARD responding to these challenges? In this study, Henning Eichler examines strategic approaches and new journalistic formats in terms of their potential for innovation. How promising are cross-media strategies in fragmented media markets? How do editorial offices that engage in journalism for social networks organise themselves? For this purpose, the author conducted interviews with editors, managers and journalists and researched innovative editorial offices. His work reveals the successes and limitations of innovative approaches and makes it evident that ARD must fundamentally change if it does not want to lose further relevance.
This paper presents central results of a dissertation which examines the strategies with which ARD and its state broadcasters are reacting to the digital media change. The key challenges are changed media usage and the related legitimation crisis of PSB. The study pursues the approach of identifying and examining innovations in the areas of processes and products. It attempts to pinpoint basic strategic orientations and then focuses on case studies. Here, the emphasis is on journalistic formats produced for commercial third-party platforms. A key finding is that these formats are clearly aligned in form and content with the respective platforms used. They contribute to the further development of ARD from a PSB to a PSM organisation but the question arises to what extent editorial staffs are influenced by the logics of platforms. It becomes clear that ARD must enter into a discourse to clarify how it can guarantee and develop its values on third-party platforms. Furthermore, the study shows that expectations concerning cross-media structures regarding product innovations can be too high and that digitalisation puts federalism under innovation pressure.