Technical standards apply in many fields, including the media industry. They evolve in response to new technologies that aim both to satisfy and to generate consumer demand. Standards can help to maximize choice and competition for goods and services, and they enhance access to goods and services of public value—including public service media. Other things being equal, the more widely a standard is used, the greater the overall benefit to consumers and citizens.
Common international standards benefit less developed countries, by easing the pressure on them to make difficult and sometimes political decisions over which standard to adopt. However, the market will not, on its own, guarantee successful standardization. A broad range of stakeholder engagement in international standards discussions, and enlightened leadership of standard-setting bodies, is essential if we are to follow a path that favors the global public interest rather than national or company interests.