Feb 7, 2014

Media briefs: Oz Network rescue … Macquarie stoush … ABC on Wed …

Australia Network 'not dead yet' ... Macquarie students hiring ... Can Spicks and Specks save ABC Wednesdays? ...

Australia Network ‘not dead yet’. The Australian may be continuing to campaign against the ABC’s Australia Network and claim it will be axed, but some ABC insiders think the network could survive — perhaps in a pared-back form. The Australia Network is an international television service that beams into Asia and the Pacific. It’s funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs at $20 million a year. The Abbott government has been critical of the network and the contract that awarded it to the ABC. The AN may well be axed in the May budget; “it’s certainly under grave threat, but it’s not dead yet”, a senior ABC figure told Crikey yesterday.

With ABC International CEO Lynley Marshall believed to have been deep in talks with DFAT officials this week, some believe a compromise deal is on the table in which the AN could survive on a bargain budget. A deal could cut the $6 million a year the AN pays the ABC for access to regular ABC news and current affairs content. It may be that the AN will be refocused more towards teaching English, with less news. The future of the AN’s flagship program, Newsline with Jim Middleton, has been shored up — it’ll merge with ABC News 24 show The World from March 10. The new show will be co-hosted by Middleton and former Bangkok correspondent Zoe Daniels, and will air on News 24 and the AN.

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