Jun 25, 2014

‘It’s what Murdoch wants’: ABC veteran slams Lewis review

There's talk of charging for access to some ABC content, and merging some functions with SBS. The ABC's Quentin Dempster says that would amount to a 'commercialisation of the public broadcasters'.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

The former staff-elected representative on the ABC board has slammed many of the recommendations made in the Lewis review, which was commissioned by the federal government.

The executive summary of the confidential report, a final copy of which is yet to be seen by the ABC board, was obtained by Fairfax and News Corp journalists yesterday. It reveals the review, by former Seven West Media chief financial officer Peter Lewis, recommends merging the back-office functions of SBS and the ABC, charging for access to the ABC’s archival content through a subscriptions model (ie. charging for iView content after a certain period), and increasing advertising on SBS.

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6 thoughts on “‘It’s what Murdoch wants’: ABC veteran slams Lewis review

  1. Andybob

    It’s hard to understand why the loss-makIng shops should continue. They feel like a significant taxpayer funded intrusion into the struggling book store market.

  2. Laurie Patton

    Quentin Dempster  is right to fight any moves to “change the role and functions of the ABC or SBS”. But defending the role of the public broadcasters doesn’t need to become a battle against change – if change means better use of their always limited funding.

    If he knew how much it costs to run iView I suspect Quentin might well think that the money could be better spent producing new content and keeping “creatives” employed.

    As to culling top management and sharing ‘back end’ facilities, that is simply stuff that should have happened by now. Every other FTA broadcaster, including SBS, has already undertaken a review of the way they operate and leveraged new technologies to become more efficient.

    Even the hyper competitive commercial TV network are now sharing a range of ‘back end’ facilities. They will doubtless do more of this in the future.

  3. Itsarort

    If channels 7 & 9 didn’t actually exist (Ch 10 is currently just an apparition), I’m pretty sure my shopping bill would be significantly less. And the cost to my lifestyle and personal improvement as I grow older,…, zero.

  4. Laurie Patton

    …if the ABC doesn’t put its content on a “pay per view” platform then it will end up with even less money as DVD sales from its ABC Shops evaporates. Sooner or later DVD’s will go the way of VHS tapes as people increasingly acquire their content online.

  5. AR

    AndyB – in my regional area the ABC shop was a franchise and still went broke. I can’t see the point if they don’t make money for anyone. Most ABC audience would order on-line anyway. Like the PostShoppes, the majority of the clutter is tat that competes with a hundred other tat’crap purveyors.
    I suppose that we should be glad of the small mercy that the hoary old “ads on ABC” didn’t get a guernsey. Didn’t need to with the insane idea of pay per iView – from whence could that concept have crawled?

  6. Robert Jameson

    Does the ABC deserve a share of the public purse? 20 years ago I would have said YES. But now they are down market and their content is near identical to the crap that comes out on commercial radio and TV. So what is its public value? I have never heard anyone complain of a shortage of crap to watch or listen to – and most of that audience do not seem concerned about being bombarded by mindless commercials.

    So where are the defenders of the ABC? Sorry ABC; we all turned off when you went down market. In my opinion your content is not worth a single dollar of tax revenue.

    Robert Jameson

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