In late March the ABC’s Director of Television, Kim Dalton, foreshadowed a big shake-up of the structure of his division. The idea is a “Channel Controller” model based around each of the multichannels. Meanwhile content heads will do the strategic work, such as buying content. Below is Dalton’s most recent missive to staff.

There are some broader cultural change issues at the ABC. More about these in a future post. 

Dear all, 

As foreshadowed in my email on Tuesday 30 March, I would like to announce that the consultation period for changes to ABC TV’s operating model has now concluded. We will begin to implement the Channel Controller model immediately, with the first step being to begin the recruitment process for key positions.  


As I have mentioned previously, the final model will see TV separate its strategic functions from its operational requirements in order to focus on its core business of aggregating content and distributing it to audiences within a multichannel and multiplatform environment. It will realign how we make strategic decisions around commissioning, acquisitions and programming.


In short, the final model will:


  • Create the roles of Channel Controllers who will set the vision, branding and program strategy for ABC1, ABC2, ABC Children’s (across ABC for Kids and ABC3) and ABC Multiplatform.
  • Devolve acquisition editorial selection process to content specialists, under the management of the Content Heads, creating appropriate roles that enable Content Area’s to perform this role.
  • Consolidate media preparation and management by bringing together Scheduling, Captioning, Presentation Planning*, Quality Control and Media Acceptance, Capital & Technology and the BMS project under Business & Operations, under the leadership of the Manager, Television Media Operations.
  • Transfer Classification to Strategy & Governance.
  • Merge Drama and Narrative Comedy, creating a new consolidated Fiction Department.
  • Bring the Sport & Events content unit under the stewardship of the Factual Department.
  • Prioritise Indigenous content. Sally Riley, the recently appointed Head of Indigenous, will be responsible for positioning ABC TV as the leading broadcaster for quality Indigenous content. She commences on 31 May 2010.
  • Transfer all iView responsibilities to Multiplatform.


* The transfer of Presentation Planning will retain a dotted reporting line to the Head Marketing on all editorial and marketing matters.


Subject to recruitment, I anticipate that the full model will be implemented by 1 July 2010.


More detail about the final model can be found in a detailed staff information pack which will be available early next week. I will email you the link to this pack once it is available.


While we are closing off consultation around the structure, we will continue to consult with individuals (and their representatives) who are directly affected by the changes.


What happens next?

The first step will be to commence the recruitment process for key positions. For logistical reasons, recruitment will occur in two phases.


From the 9 April, the following positions will be advertised:

  • Controller ABC1
  • Controller ABC2
  • Head of Fiction
  • Manager, Television Media Operations
  • Content Business Analyst


The second phase will be to recruit for the following positions:

  • Acquisition Manager (2 positions)
  • Acquisition Coordinators (2 positions)
  • Controller Multiplatform 
  • Head of Sport & Events


Once the Controller ABC1, Acquisitions Managers/Coordinators and Manager, Television Media Operations have been appointed, we will begin to implement the next phase – rolling out the revised Acquisition and Media Management processes. In the meantime, these current processes will continue as normal.


Future updates

I will continue to keep you updated over the coming months on how the implementation is progressing. If you do have questions, please contact your Department Head or Manager in the first instance. You can also contact Chris Oliver-Taylor, David Anderson or Jennifer McCleary.


I appreciate that implementing a complex model is challenging, and it comes on top of our demanding roles and responsibilities. I thank you for your assistance and patience as we implement this new structure which will allow ABC TV to continue to play a leadership role in Australian Television.




Kim Dalton

Director of Television