SBS boss: “ABC wants to take us over.”

line-sandA line quoted in an article today is almost a line in the sand between SBS and ABC.

According to SBS boss Shaun Brown, ABC management harbours “a desire to take over SBS.”


If he’s been quoted correctly that’s a big statement.

Brown was responding to a report prepared for the ABC by the Boston Consulting Group that proposes four options of possible network mergers.

The paper, headed Project W, says a “high” integration scenario would deliver an annual benefit of $41 million: a combined organisation with integrated strategic direction, TV production, marketing and sales (a single organisation with two programming groups focusing on the ABC and SBS brands).

A spokeswoman for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said that although the Government was committed to maintaining separate ABC and SBS identities, it acknowledged the $41 million estimated saving was “worthy of consideration”.

But a defensive Brown said, “The consultants acknowledge that all costs are approximations and were not provided by SBS, which casts serious doubts on the reality of any potential savings.”

“The ABC’s clandestine report simply confirms what we long suspected: that ABC management has long harboured a desire to take over SBS.

“Ultimately, the proposal results in no significant cost savings, a loss of more than 125 jobs at the ABC and SBS and a threat to investment in the independent production sector.”

An ABC spokeswoman said: “The ABC is not pursuing or promoting a merger of public broadcasters. That is a matter for government.” Instead, she said, the ABC believed there was scope for achieving operating efficiencies across the two national broadcasters.

Source: The Australian


  1. There is usually only one winner in any of these outside strategy reviews and it’s rarely the customer… In this case it will be the Boston Consulting Group.

  2. Kuttsy: There was an attempt by the Bob Hawke government to merge ABC and SBS in the 1980s which came close to actually happening but you’re right there was a massive outcry from the multicultural communities and the proposal was canned.

    A merger was also raised again as a possibility in 2000 by ABC boss Jonathan Shier.

    And last year the possibility of merging backstage operations of ABC and SBS, while keeping them as separate entities, was raised by Senator Stephen Conroy.

    – “that person from TelevisionAU” 🙂

  3. If ABC3 and ABC4 go ahead, as well as a separate SBS2 to SBS news, and then ABC HD and SBS HD offer alternative programming on top of that, that would be… 9 channels between them alone. Then 7,9 and 10 only have to offer 2 each to get to 15!

  4. “Instead, she said, the ABC believed there was scope for achieving operating efficiencies across the two national broadcasters.”

    Nice wording there from the PR department, but its essentially the same thing. I don’t think the two networks will merge anytime soon, its not like we have a WB+UPN=CW situation here

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