Not content with taking the lion’s share of the ABC’s $200 million a year transmission and distribution budget through its wholly owned subsidiary, Broadcast Australia, Macquarie Bank is reportedly making an audacious bid to take over even more of the public broadcaster’s operations.

Red Bee Media, until recently a commercial subsidiary of the BBC, before being acquired by Macquarie, is rumoured to have fronted senior ABC management with a proposal that would see it taking over all of the corporation’s playout, master control and digital broadcast activities.

Red Bee Media specialises in the delivery and promotion of digital media and offers services required to promote, play out and provide access to broadcast content across all media, from television to mobile phones.

In Europe its clients already include the BBC Television, BBC Radio, BBC New Media, UKTV, ESPN, and BBC World, BBC Prime. Red Bee Media also reportedly presented to the commercial television networks in Australia where it was “quietly confident” that the deal with the ABC would get the green light.

The deal could present a significant upside to the ABC in terms of savings brought about by consolidating its master control and playout operations into a single centre instead of duplicating facilities around the country as it now does. The downside of the deal is that, coupled with the Broadcast Australia deal on transmission and distributions, something like 15 cents of every taxpayer funded dollar spent by the ABC would be going directly to the pockets of those needy folk over at Macquarie Bank.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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