Public service play

I found this article while researching the potential and thinking around OFCOM’s proposed Public Service Publisher. For those not familiar with the idea the principle is that there may be a need for a publicly funded online publisher, a body with the remit to serve the public via content online only – no tv, no radio.

It’s a concept I am incredibly interested in – the BBC are hampered by their need to serve all communities and offend none, Channel 4 has lost its way in the New Media space, putting revenue above content and therefore falling behind the innovation and service curve online. There are two situations that could solve the public service hole online, one is a Public Service Publisher, one is a strong remit and investment given to Channel 4 to break out of its online public service inertia.

How does this relate to play? To spirituality?

Those involved in the consultation – who are interestingly not existing publishers of online public service content, or if so they are at one remove, part of the museum and gallery community – are acknowleding the importance of play in the mix of any public service offering. I was hopeful that this would manifest as play for play’s sake, spaces for personal and self-directed leisure like the municipal parks of the . Unfortunately it seems to be linked in to a very traditional public service idea of action and government channels.

In her suggestion of how a PSP might manifest a game Aleks Krotoski, part of the PSP Creative Forum, suggests “Users will be able to take part in the ARG by looking for clues, announcements and puzzles in utility bills, transport advertisements, government notices and other public service output…Each round or season of CONNEXTION would centre on a particular issue of public interest – environmental awareness, transport or health.”

Do you feel inspired to play? Does this sound like fun? 

I am sure that this would tick OFCOM’s government boxes but I am equally sure that this would simply be doing what the BBC does but worse, more worthy.  If the PSP could embrace play as the state of being that it exists in and acknowledge the value of play to our new game focused society it could acheive something unique and wonderful that would develop and inspire the soul without making it into hard work. That would be something I would gladly contribute my money towards.


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