The values that gave rise to the ethos of public service broadcasting (PSB) almost a century ago, and which have provided the rationale for PSBs around the world across that time, are under question. This article argues that the process of reinvention of PSBs is enhanced through repositioning the innovation rationale for public service media (PSM). It is organized around a differentiation which is part of the standard repertoire of innovation studies – that between product, process and organizational innovation – as they are being practised by the two Australian PSBs, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). The article then considers the general problematics of innovation for PSBs through an analysis of the operations of the public value test in the context of European PSM, and its, to this stage, non-application in Australia. The innovation rationale is argued to be a distinctive via media between complementary and comprehensive roles for PSM, which in turn suggests an international, policy-relevant research agenda focusing on international circumstances in which the public broadcaster is not market dominant.