There are a few things to point out to Crikey in relation to the piece written by Andrew Dodd yesterday: “ABC TV master control goes to commercial”.
It is simply untrue to say that the new facility will not be controlled by the national broadcaster. The ABC will co-own the new joint venture operation together with WIN TV, with the ABC continuing to control its play-out and presentation function within the facility.
The ABC’s TV presentation infrastructure has reached its used-by date and needs replacing. New technology means the ABC can not only ensure that current functionality is replicated, but that quality assurance will be improved, with response times for the rectification of technical faults and disaster recovery much easier at the new facility, given it will operate from one single location.
There is a lot to be gained from this new partnership. It will enable the ABC to provide state based versions of ABC1, ABC2, ABCHD and other channels nationally; and the ability to respond quickly to local state emergencies, which means providing breaking news into any region around the clock.
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Under the existing system, only ABC1 can handle localised news break-outs. For instance, this prevented the ABC going to live 24-hour news coverage of the Victorian bushfires earlier this year on ABC2 for local audiences, while maintaining its national schedule on ABC1.
There are also significant savings that will be generated through the creation of this partnership that will be put directly back into the ABC to produce more content for our audiences.
The ABC has already been able to demonstrate its ability to identify backroom efficiencies and use the resultant savings to boost its existing content. For example, savings generated from the ABC’s recent production review was used to start ABC2 News Breakfast.
As a publicly funded broadcaster, it is our job to be as efficient as we can be in order to continue delivering more distinctive Australian programming.