TV & Radio

Mar 13, 2014

The ABC is efficient, but we shouldn’t fund it

Any comparison with commercial networks shows the ABC is efficient. But that doesn't mean taxpayers should be spending money on a public broadcaster, argues CCZ Statton Equities markets analyst Roger Colman.

The argument around the ABC’s efficiency, ultimately, comes down to bang-for-buck analysis. Aunty’s radio and TV operations can be relatively easily compared with commercial operators; ABC costs in community service obligations, such as orchestras and remote regional radio services, are not. These peripheral services would have no comparable commercial service even if there were no ABC providing the service.

44 comments

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44 thoughts on “The ABC is efficient, but we shouldn’t fund it

  1. Darwin

    Keep publishing tripe like this, Crikey, and you’ll lose my subscription. What a load of shite.

  2. billie

    I wonder what proportion of the population only watch ABC and SBS TV and what proportion of the population listen to ABC radio in areas where its available.

    Like most of the population I rely on the ABC and SBS for news, bushfire information etc

    In this digital age if the ABC and SBS are sold I would probably get my news from BBC, not Fox or Channel 7, 9, 10

  3. Bo Gainsbourg

    What a crock. Noticed this guy didn’t mention democracy and public benefit in any meaningful way. The fact that the ABC’s quality input in to democratic debate is fundamental is overridden by his brainless “all government involvement is bad” teaparty type schtick. We can easily afford it,it provides an exemplary service and its standards of journalistic quality, balance and integrity put all other outlets to shame. These nitwits are trying to wreck Australia, lets not sit back and let them do it.

  4. Karen

    Colman, if the ABC had a right wing bias I don’t think you would be arguing for privatisation.

  5. wayne robinson

    Der Sturmer was published by Julius Streicher, not Himmler.

    If the ABC is biased, which I don’t think it is, privatising it won’t stop it being biased. It would just mean that the only way we could object to its bias is to refuse to watch or listen to it.

  6. Richard

    Lightweight garbage. Keane’s response destroys this.

  7. BSquaredInOz

    I guess I am biased, being one of those pesky “high-income” ABC lovers (i.e. I have a roof over my head that is 75% my own and could survive a month or so if I lost my job), but I don’t buy this argument. I would have outlined why but Bernard Keane has already done it far better than I could elsewhere at Crikey. Bless him.

    Personally speaking I have never believed tackling the ABC on economic grounds is worthwhile – as a percentage of public spending it is negligible and the returns for the piddling investment are immense. Unfortunately most of those returns are intangible but one thing that always lets me know that the ABC is still travelling OK is that whenever I have seen a survey that looks at the trust Australians have in their news deliverers the ABC has consistently rated the highest – usually by a country mile. Here’s a link to Crikey’s report on Essential Media’s polling last year as just one of the dozens of examples I have come across over the years http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/12/18/trust-in-media-abc-still-leads-telegraph-takes-a-hit/. You literally cannot buy this kind of trust. Even if I did accept that the very existence of the ABC has “crowded commercial media out of key programming genres” (which I don’t accept at all) I would still argue that a publically funded independent media organisation offers something that no commercial entity – even one with the noblest of intentions – can do at the same time as keeping happy all of their sponsors, advertisers and other providers of cash. Lasting trustworthiness in a media organisation is to be treasured.

  8. paddy

    Dear Crikey, I know it’s Thursday, but lame trolling like this will only end up costing you subscriptions.
    Hosting outrage clickbait behind a paywall is even more insulting than whacking it up on reddit. Enough!

  9. zut alors

    A purposely inflammatory piece.

    This doesn’t mention the inevitable dumbing down of programming should the ABC be privatised. Simply look to the dreck on commercial radio/TV stations for a long term image of what our national broadcaster could become.

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