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Ao.-Univ.Prof. Dr. Thomas Steinmaurer Public Network Value The digital transformation set in motion far-reaching processes of change in society and also brings fundamental changes for the media and communication sector. With the internet and the principles of networking, a new digital infrastructure developed that gave rise to a paradigmatic new ecosystem for social as well as individual information and communication processes. In this global network, which promised egalitarian communication and interaction for all, new players have since emerged as dominant platforms that dominate the game of power and have become central hubs not only of communication but also of its economisation and marketing.

The large social media platforms in particular set new communication and interaction processes in motion that enable changed forms of participation and also create new public spheres, but also drive forward tendencies of polarisation and radicalisation. Dynamics of datafication, a newly developing "surveillance capitalism" (cf. Zuboff) or, more recently, the integration of AI for searching, controlling and also producing content represent additional challenges of development. Classical media are now faced with the challenge of having to adapt to the new framework conditions and implement sensible transformation processes in line with their mandate. For public service broadcasting, this means that it has to develop from a one-to-many medium of classical character (in the sense of a "broadcaster") to a platform of digital information and communication offerings (in the sense of a network).

Other dimensions of public network value also include aspects that aim to develop appropriate formats that inform the public about the possibilities and opportunities, but also the risks and dangers of using digital services and the significance of digitisation for society in general. Just as innovative offers need to be developed on the provider side, it must also be ensured that the users of digital infrastructures also have the corresponding competences and "digital skills" to be able to move around the Internet not only as passive consumers, but as actively participating citizens (cf. Digital Skills). In sum, the concept of Public Network Value is characterised by proposing a model for the further development of the classic Public Value Model for the further development of PSM for its digital transformation. At the centre of both innovation directions must be the claim for public service providers to secure and guarantee the quality standards defined for them. For it is precisely for the challenges currently presented in the digital networks that it is to be seen as a democratic task for society to afford the development of quality-driven network platforms in the sense of "public service networks". In this way, an alternative and a counterpart to globally operating platforms can be created, which is based on the target values of the social common good and the safeguarding of a democratic public sphere. The conceptual lines of development thus addressed are to be seen against the background of a respective national media policy, which is called upon to meet the challenges of digitalisation. The aim should be to secure structures of diversity and a plural public sphere, as well as to strengthen providers who focus on the creation of information and communication qualities that are necessary for democratic policy as well as network innovations that are oriented towards the common good.

The central idea is to create a "public value" for society in the digital network as well. The further development of the added value of public broadcasters for the network society (cf. Castells) could consequently be described as the "public network value", within the framework of which not only the recognised, already valid quality features represent the basis for all offers, but new quality features - adapted to the changing framework conditions - must be developed based on them (cf. Steinmaurer/Wenzel 2015). Against the backdrop of the fact that communication processes in digital networks are becoming increasingly opaque and unclear and manipulation and falsification of content are constantly on the rise, there is a need to secure quality providers in the network who not only stand for reliable content, but can also develop new digital formats at a technically high-quality level. They should therefore be able to offer innovative digital services that are clearly distinguishable from purely economically oriented applications and create added value for society. For it is precisely in the digital ecosystem that public service providers must aim to distinguish themselves not only through the quality of their content offerings, but also through their network innovations. The public network value to be achieved should be oriented towards the ratio of social participation, digital inclusion and social integration in the sense of establishing a public open space.

Based on the idea of the digital commons, the goal of the development of new network offerings must logically be oriented towards the vanishing point of a public (network) value and not - as is the case with large platforms worldwide - a shareholder value. With regard to the design of digital innovations, which in sum could constitute a public network value, it should be about creating forms of easy access to offers, improving the visibility of services and using central functions of the digital networks. This addresses potentials that aim at intensifying interactive communication and interaction with the audience. In order to achieve such network qualities, corresponding efforts are required on the part of providers in order to make quality-driven content offers for the context of digital ecosystems.

Especially in times of uncertain information qualities on the net, in which fake news and conspiracy theories can quickly spread, it is central that quality-oriented media platforms (can) become fact-oriented clearing houses for "digital content". This includes tasks such as the increasingly necessary validation and contextualisation of content at the journalistic level. But it also includes cooperation with other quality providers from the field of traditional media, as has already been realised in the first steps in the case of research networks. On a structural-technical level, quality-driven providers and platforms should be established in the network, as well as networks and links that create added value for public network values. This could include links such as to platforms of the EBU or archives of public law character as well as information hots of libraries or web providers such as Wikipedia. These forms of active networking could strengthen public broadcasters in consolidating their identity as quality nodes in the network. And one of the quality features of PSMs should be to make their archives accessible in an advanced, i.e. journalistically curated form, since this often makes it possible to access culturally and socially relevant content.

In addition to market-oriented considerations, media policy must therefore also be concerned with the quality assurance of social communication infrastructures, especially in the context of digital framework conditions. Against the background of the perspectives mentioned above, which must be considered for the development of a quality and democracy-oriented media and communication infrastructure, the safeguarding of a public service provider per se can be considered a measure of quality assurance in the context of a diverse provider structure. Especially in the context of digitalisation and the associated "new structural change of the public sphere" (cf. Habermas), the idea of establishing more "public service" network providers - however these may be designed - is therefore discussed and also demanded (cf. Internet Manifesto), and not without good reason, against the backdrop of a commercialisation and economisation of the internet that is taking hold worldwide.

In this context, it is not only important to constantly check the quality of their journalistic productions from different perspectives - also in the sense of regulated self-regulation - and to correct them if necessary. In the future, it will also be necessary to evaluate and assess the quality of their digital innovation and development perspectives under the aspect of their contribution to a democratic communication culture. This will also have to be done in accordance with the currently (respectively) valid European legal provisions on state aid, which also focus on the need for public service providers to comply with a genuine public service mandate. Against this background, it will be crucial to consider which digital services or forms of offerings of a meritocratic nature are required to create an explicit democratic added value. With regard to possible paths of further development from public service media to public service networks or digital platforms for society, it will also be necessary to define which quality features are (or can be) expected from such a newly defined provider or must be provided.

What forms of networking and cooperation with other quality providers or non-commercial platforms on the Net should be developed, both nationally and at the European or international level? With which activities can public service providers in the digital network succeed in ensuring their public network value as a "return on society"? And when it comes to thinking about how to implement quality assurance measures for the further development of the digital transformation, there are different approaches to choose from. In addition to the instruments that have already been tried and tested, it will be important to find forms of flexible and adaptive quality assurance, as specific needs always arise anew. While problems caused by fake news, deep fakes or conspiracy theories were and are still being addressed by certain measures - such as fact checking - new challenges arise very quickly as a result of digital innovation cycles, as we are currently observing in the field of artificial intelligence. Quality-driven providers also have to react to this with their possibilities and find answers to any critical or questionable developments.

In this respect, quality development for the context of digital framework conditions must therefore also be understood as a flexible development path. If one finally understands the development steps of the digital transformation through PSM as dimensions within the framework of the creation of a public network value, such a model can generally be understood as a quality assurance system for digital ecosystems. For it has the goal - following the model of the "digital commons" - to create social added value within digital networks, to develop qualities as an alternative to purely data-economic models and to aim at strengthening "digital citizenship".

It is not without reason that we are already finding various concepts and initiatives at the European level to build alternatives to globally active players. Even if such efforts are very belated and, precisely because of their non-commercial orientation, cannot in any way contest the position of the large global platforms, it is necessary in terms of democratic policy to create quality nodes and quality-driven networks with added value for society. For the safeguarding of a communicative infrastructure that is committed to the target values of a functioning democratic public sphere and can make an important contribution to the quality assurance of information and communication is to be regarded as a central task for the network society in terms of democratic policy.