10 reasons why there should be no advertising or

sponsorship at the ABC

1. Advertising drives programming: The introduction of advertising

would mean that decisions about the types of programs to be broadcast could be

influenced by their capacity to interest advertisers. Programming decisions

should be driven by a respect for the ABC’s Charter rather than advertising.

2. Advertising drives commissioning: Decisions about the choice of

new programs to be commissioned are likely to be influenced by perceptions

about whether programs will support adverting.

3. Advertising means tamer programming: Advertisers tend to avoid

risk. They are often reluctant to associate their products with contentious

social issues. This is likely to lead to tamer programming decisions.

4. Advertising means less innovation: Advertisers tend to want

established formulae. This is likely to reduce risk taking and the development

of new program forms and styles.

5. Advertising is rating driven: Advertising requires mass markets.

The introduction of advertising would create pressure on the ABC chase for

mass audiences and forgo its specialist broadcasting.

6. Advertising corrupts editorial independence: Program makers must

be able to challenge any idea, institution or vested interest. That lies at

the heart of the independence of the ABC. Advertising means that program

makers may be induced or pressured into ‘going soft’ on subjects that may

offend potential or existing advertisers. Even if program makers are

successful in resisting these pressures, audience may suspect that this is not

the case.

7. Advertising doe not necessarily increase real levels of ABC funding.

Advertising revenue is likely to be a substitute for government funding rather

than a source of supplementary funding.

8. Lack of advertising revenue in industry: the soft advertising

market means that fewer dollars will be available to support program making in

the commercial free to air sector.

9. Advertising creates dependency: Once the ABC accepts advertising

dollars, it is likely to become dependent upon that revenue stream, and

immediately loses its independence.

10. ABC audiences have said loud and clear: ‘We Don’t Want

Advertising on Our ABC. Australian audiences have repeatedly and consistently

said that they do not want advertising on their ABC. The Government needs to

listen.

Peter Fray

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