The ABC is considering outsourcing its television outside broadcasting capabilities and get rid of its vans, citing cuts to its budget and the ageing technology in its fleet.
In an email sent to news staff earlier this week, head of state coverage Genevieve Hussey said the public broadcaster was inviting tenders from companies who can take over delivering outside broadcasts. Its 12 outside broadcasting vans are reaching the end of their life, she wrote, and improvements in remote production technology have made them redundant in some situations. Replacing them would be a significant cost.
“Because of this, and also to continue to find efficiencies, the ABC is considering outsourcing the delivery of our television [outside broadcasts] across three content divisions,” she said. “This would mean disposing of our own ageing … vans and instead using one or more external suppliers.”
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Hussey said outsourcing television broadcasting would not change any content or coverage.
The ABC’s television outside broadcasting includes events such as Anzac Day, Australia Day, News Year’s Eve, election days and sports events.
Although the email ruled out news staff layoffs, it did not preclude the loss of staff from operations or support crews involved with outside broadcasts.
The ABC confirmed the plan to Crikey and reiterated it would not affect programming: “The ABC is considering outsourcing the delivery of outside broadcasts (OBs) for television, to find efficiencies and modernise our production capabilities.”
The ABC will invite submissions in the coming weeks before deciding about the future of its fleet.
“We’ll keep you updated,” Hussey’s email concluded.