“The government intends the PBS Creativity Hub to be a protagonist in the local scene by further exploiting, for the good of the Maltese people, the possibilities that technology offers us,” Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi inaugurated the PBS Creativity Hub, sited in the building formerly known as Xandir Malta before it was shut down in the early 1990s.
Gonzi said the PBS Creativity Hub represents a leap forward in the services offered by the Public Broadcasting Service, as it will allow PBS to enter into the digital world.
Among the services offered, Gonzi said, will an "extensive" news portal, which will also offer live streaming of all local PBS stations.
"The government intends the PBS Creativity Hub to be a protagonist in the local scene by further exploiting, for the good of the Maltese people, the possibilities that technology offers us," Gonzi said.
"The government wants that the PBS Creativity Hub, aside from offering services such as PBS's stations, also offers services to independent producers," he added.
"This place will provide the opportunity for this industry to keep growing by exploiting the creativity that we have in the country and improving the quality of programming without having to go into large capital expenditures."
He said that the Creativity Hub will also feature modern provide facilities and equipment so that Maltese producers "can work better."
He said that the inauguration of PBS' Creativity Hub represents "not simply changing a building's name" but "a change in how the media is managed in this age of digital revolution."
During the inauguration, Gonzi also spoke of the government's ongoing reform of the public broadcasting system, which took place over the year.
He said that the government had kick started this process of change and renovation when it closed Xandir Malta and launched the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
"In doing so, the country moved from a monopolised and state-controlled public broadcasting system to a broadcasting system that is based on plurality. This was revolutionary," Gonzi said.
Gonzi noted how, despite how during Xandir Malta's time there were only two radio stations, today Malta enjoys 13 stations that broadcast on a digital format as well as various community stations. He also said that despite previously having only one television station today Malta has nine.
Gonzi added that in the early 2000, the government continued transforming the broadcasting industry through reforms in radio broadcasting, "which led to a radical reform of PBS in 2004."
During this reform, Gonzi said that "PBS was restructured from top to bottom" and that "the aim of this was so that PBS's finances would be consolidated and strengthened."
He said that "clear proof" of the reform's success was the inauguration of the new PBS building, which is financed by commercial banks.
"During recent years, PBS carried out its work without financial loss; even making a profit during some years," Gonzi said. "This profit was used to improve the product which we offer to our Maltese audiences. Today, everyone realises that PBS's stations are the best in Malta."
Gonzi added that in 2004, the government also fashioned and published "for the first time" a national policy on broadcasting "with the aim that those stations directed by PBS become the best quality stations, offer creativity, and enjoy greater popularity."
Gonzi noted "the audiences of public broadcasting stations TVM and TVM2 form the biggest segment of viewership, exceeding the viewership of all other stations put together."
"The reforms which we carried out show how much creativity we have in our country. We managed to nurture an industry of independent producers. Today, there are many independent producers who provide their own programmes to PBS," Gonzi said.
Referring to the inauguration itself, Gonzi said that it represents "the practical implementation of another part of our vision so that this industry is truly more creative and of better quality."
Gonzi added that the government is also considering proposals for the best use of the building that so far as housed Television House, as well as the use of the adjacent land which is currently used as a parking space.
He said that government is already considering several proposals for the utilisation of this space so that "we can keep up with the change that we've begun and we want to work further in this sector so that the public media service is truly the media with the best quality, popularity, and creativity."