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Laura Hörner Public Value-Study Public Value Annual Studies are an important component of ORF's quality assurance, because they address problems and challenges that are still unresolved for public service media. The studies provide a glimpse into the future of public service broadcasting, explore untapped potential and are thus intended to facilitate a sophisticated quality media discourse. On the basis of scientific analyses, the researchers make recommendations for action - both to the public broadcasters, who use the studies as a practical basis for their programming work, and to legislators and regulatory authorities.

In recent years in particular, public value studies have often been interdisciplinary and international in scope. Cooperation with other European public broadcasters and the European umbrella organization of public service media (EBU) has proven its worth, as questions such as those concerning digital transformation ("Digital Transformation: From Broadcaster to Quality Network," 2020), increasing news avoidance ("Information Deprivation & News-Avoiding," 2019) or trust in public service media ("Values and Trust," 2021) concern not only ORF but also other public broadcasters.

The first study commissioned by ORF was entitled "Why migrants currently make little or no use of ORF programming in the areas of television, radio and online - and what innovations and measures can be used to appeal to them more" (2007). In the course of the study, Fritz Hausjell (University of Vienna), a journalist and communications scientist, was able to show that migrants do not feel that they are a "natural part" of Austrian society in most media. For this reason, they would often turn to media from their countries of origin or specific media offerings for migrants. The interviewees were working on developing some formats that they would feel addressed if they existed on ORF. One example that would be very popular would be a cooking program in which an Austrian chef and a chef from one of the many countries of origin of migrants living in Austria exchange ideas about different table cultures and work on recipes. The participants interviewed for the study also highlighted a lack of representation of migrants among ORF staff. Hausjell suggested that the ORF should not only focus more on migration in its content, but also show clear signs of openness to migrant job applicants. If the editorial offices become more diverse, this will also apply to the content.

The quantitative study "The Economic Effects of ORF Television" (2012) by Mathias Firgo (WIFO), Oliver Fritz (WIFO) and Gerhard Streicher (Joanneum Research) was able to show that ORF makes a significant contribution to macroeconomic and regional value creation through its activities as a major business enterprise. ORF's current expenditures and investments multiply the value-added activities of other sectors of the Austrian economy. Among other things, this showed that each euro of gross value added generated in ORF's television operations in the form of wages, salaries and depreciation and amortization contributed a total of EUR 3.20 to the overall gross value added in the economy at that time. For every person employed in ORF television, there are a total of five employees in other areas of the Austrian economy. Overall, ORF generated around EUR 1.8 billion in total economic production value in 2012. The results underpin the contribution of public television to Austria's economic performance.

After the 2012 study dealt with the economic significance of ORF, Katharine Sarikakis and Fritz Hausjell (University of Vienna) addressed the question of ORF television's contribution to the intellectual value creation of Austrian society in their study (2013). They defined three areas through which ORF contributes to this intellectual value creation: In its preservation of cultural diversity and identity, and in its innovative creativity. Based on scientific literature and empirical case studies, the authors noted the status quo and addressed some specific recommendations for action to the company and legislators. Intellectual value creation in the area of culture is most effectively realized, they said, by making everyday cultures as much a subject of programs as advanced cultures. According to the recommendation, this work of the ORF should be accessible on all significant platforms (TV, radio, online) in order to reach all social classes and generation groups and to consolidate the relevance of the ORF in the long term. The scientists consider the support of the state and the regulatory authorities to be indispensable in achieving these goals. For the area of identity, they say it is central for ORF to take into account the fact of demographic change as well as the growing cultural diversity of Austrian society when producing its content. In addition, the authors recommend a program focus on European topics and making ORF's own reputation visible within the European public institutions and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). Finally, it is relevant to continue to fulfill its own integrative function, for example by including people with special needs. In the area of social innovation, the authors suggested producing entertainment programs that give audiences critical access to their own social world. Here, too, the authors emphasize the important role of legislation and regulatory authorities, which should provide ORF with additional resources to develop such formats, especially for young people.

Mit jungen Menschen und ihrer Lebenswelt befasst sich eine Studie aus dem Jahr 2016. Beschäftigt hat das Public Value Kompetenzzentrum zu dieser Zeit, dass immer wieder von "der Jugend" gesprochen wird, ohne so recht zu wissen, wer das eigentlich sein soll. Die Studie "Generation What? - Das Online-Experiment" setzte sich zum Ziel, dies zu ändern. Im Rahmen einer großangelegten Online-Befragung sollte unter anderem geklärt werden: Wie sehen und definieren junge Menschen sich selbst? Insgesamt 149 Fragen enthielt die Online-Umfrage, an der rund eine Million junge Menschen aus 35 Ländern teilnahmen. Neben einer umfassenden Datenmenge an Auskünften zum Selbstverständnis der Jugend Europas, entstand durch das Projekt eine europäische Öffentlichkeit. Öffentlich-rechtliche Medien haben die Plattformen bereitgestellt und die Antworten der offenen Online-Befragung in Zusammenarbeit mit sozialwissenschaftlichen Instituten einer wissenschaftlichen Auswertung unterzogen. Auch wenn die Ergebnisse nicht repräsentativ für alle jungen Europäer:innen sind, also nicht verallgemeinert werden können, zeichnen sie doch ein umfangreiches Bild junger in Europa lebender Menschen.

The study "Digital Transformation: From Broadcaster to Quality Network" (2020) is particularly relevant for reaching young people. In his article "From Public Service Broadcasting to Digital Platform: The Role of Artificial Intelligence," Reinhard Christl looks at the significance of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for modern media companies. Although there was a great deal of skepticism about the use of AI for a long time, this is increasingly giving way to the realization that artificial intelligence - if used correctly - holds more opportunities than risks. The author believes that AI will radically change the media industry, precisely because the technologies are becoming increasingly available and cheaper. That's why it's crucial to develop a strategy for dealing with it. Christl sees artificial intelligence as a valuable tool that can support editorial teams in their work. Traditional journalistic values and quality standards must be combined with the new digital possibilities - in this way, public broadcasting can not only present a competitive alternative to platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, Disney or Amazon, but "a more transparent, intelligent and quality alternative to them."

In the same study, Uwe Hasebrink, Jan-Hinrik Schmidt and Stephan Dreyer of the Hans Bredow Institute also wrote a paper entitled "Algorithmic Recommendations of Public Service Media Providers. Among other things, they discuss processes by which public service media providers communicate the content they produce and acquire to an audience. This includes, among other things, the perception of content, the arousal of interest and convenient use. While these mediation structures were long characterized by linear use - at a specific time, on a specific channel - an increasing change in usage behavior is becoming apparent as a consequence of an ongoing digital transformation. The guiding paradigm is now rather to make audiovisual content available ideally at any time and place. This development has led to algorithmic recommendation systems gaining relevance. On the basis of comprehensive databases and with the help of artificial intelligence, very specific, i.e. personalized, recommendations can thus be made today. In addition to concerns about the centralization and monopolization of many areas of the digital public sphere, the question of the social consequences of these algorithmic recommendations is also raised time and again. In addressing the consequences of these systems for public broadcasters, the authors conclude that their use makes sense in principle and can be justified, but that it would depend on the specific design. For example, Hasebrink, Schmidt and Dreyer argue that diversity, as a central good of democratic broadcasting systems, must also be a primary criterion for the discoverability of content. They also argue that public media providers must establish best practice standards, especially with regard to the explicability and verifiability of the systems, especially in contrast to the often non-transparent algorithms of private providers. This is the only way to gain the trust and acceptance of users. Of course, the use of these algorithms in the digital world is particularly relevant if this online area can also be used accordingly.

Twelve years after Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Attila Marton (Oxford University) subjected arguments against public service media on the net to critical analysis in their ORF study "The Role of Public Service Media on the Internet" (2011) and declared legal restrictions to be nonsensical in a further step, they largely persist. Even then, the authors called on policymakers to lift the barriers, arguing that they lock public service media houses into a "conventional media stream" and thus prevent innovation. To this day, that innovation remains largely prevented. The promised digital amendment is a long time coming. And that, the authors say, is figuratively speaking "like telling public service media to broadcast only in black and white in the days of color television."