Media

Jun 18, 2018

Easy as ABC: how to privatise national broadcasting

Privatising the ABC would be relatively straightforward, and there are different options for doing it if the government really wants to get going immediately.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

While the government is rushing to distance itself from the Liberal Party's now official policy that the ABC be privatised, the argument that it's somehow impossible to do doesn't stack up. Privatising the ABC doesn't present particularly complex policy challenges.

Certainly, selling the ABC is a non-starter. It costs a billion dollars a year to run, plus digital and analog radio transmission and distribution costs. And while its high-end audience is the kind of demographic advertisers drool over, the existing free-to-air broadcasters would go feral at the idea of an entirely new national network rival for diminishing advertising dollars. So flogging it, even, as one Liberal delegate suggested, to a media mogul is a non-starter.

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