ABC may cut Arts, Sport amid Charter concerns.

Question marks hovering over ABC’s plans for long-running shows including The New Inventors and Collectors are now being extended to Art Nation, state football and women’s basketball.

The ABC is tipped to confirm cuts and job losses this week, according to The Australian.

Art Nation replaced Sunday Arts, which was axed in 2009.

But could it mean the broadcaster is backing away from its Charter commitment to “Encourage and promote the musical, dramatic and other performing arts in Australia”?

ABC’s Corporation Charter (1983) doesn’t distinguish that it has to promote Arts on Television as distinct from Radio and Online, nor does it discern between primary channels and multichannels.

ABC’s website currently lists other shows as Art / Culture including Artscape documentaries, At The Movies, First Tuesday Book Club With Jennifer Byrne, Jennifer Byrne Presents plus ABC2 Live presents. Others on the list are archival shows no longer in production.

Channel 31’s The Bazura Project is also coming to ABC2 this year, skewing “films, movie, and everything in between.”

The Australian also reports another production may be in the pipeline for the Hobart studios if Collectors is axed.

A loss of women’s basketball would contradict statements made last year by Director of Television Kim Dalton who acknowledged that while abandoning The Hopman Cup, ABC Television was pursuing a strategic direction that focuses on women’s, regional and Paralympic sport.

In recent weeks unions have been calling on Managing Director Mark Scott to halt a broadcaster drift to outscourcing.

Last week Dalton said, “Television is not a static business. Planning is ongoing around programming, the production slate and the management of resources. Programs may be cancelled – such as Talking Heads or Can We Help? Key talent may decide not to proceed with ongoing series – such as Maggie Beer and Cook And The Chef or Adam Hills and Spicks and Specks.

“Programs are moved in the schedule – such as Poh’s Kitchen. New programs are commissioned – such as the drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, the comedy At Home With Julia or the sports show Marngrook Footy Show.”

Poh’s Kitchen is the only ABC TV production amongst Dalton’s select titles.

16 Comments:

  1. @Armchair Analyst. Ten/OneHD is desperately attempting to offload the rights to the NBL, netball, swimming and many other sports and still has no takers. If the WNBL was to leave the ABC then it would join the back of a very long queue. Sport is expensive to cover and if no one is watching it’s hard to justify.

  2. Jo-Anne, how is MediaHub costing ABC more when they don’t even employ any humans to operate it? The whole point of MH was to save on all the button pushers they employed in each broadcast market. As for News24, I don’t know how much it’s costing them but whatever it is, it’s worth every cent!

  3. Armchair Analyst

    If the WNBL leaves ABC TV i will be happy. They have been treating the league in recent seasons with contempt. No live matches on ABC 2 which is appauling and this is supposed to be a premier womens league in australia. I would love it if Network Ten picked up the rights to the WNBL and showed it on Ten or ONE. However that is not likely. I think that the ABC have not used the money properly. i I am all for a 24 hr news channel but i think it probably could have been done cheaper and it would still have been good. Maybe these axings are because of poor ratings it think that could be a justifiable reason for it.

  4. 100 ABC employees forced to confront The Real World – this would make a great Reality TV Show.

    How will this endangered species survive in The Wild without EEO, Assertiveness Training, Grievance Counselling and Indigenous Awareness Forums? It’s Born Free – set in Ultimo.

  5. Secret Squïrrel

    What is going on?

    @Jo-anne, I think you’re right. They still regularly have problems with the playout from MediaHub, mostly to do with synching changes from programs to ads/promos. As for News24, while it’s great to have something like that to turn to when there’s a big event, it does burn a lot of bucks for a tiny percentage of viewers.

    Perhaps they could save some money by having uni students announce what’s coming up on ABC2. Oh, wait….

  6. Only the programming equivalent of a moron would cancel “Collectors”, probably only of the few hit shows the ABC has at the moment — that show’s move to a commercial network (and they’d grab it with glee) would destroy it for good as they’d run it into the ground, putting it on 5 nights a week….

  7. I would be hugely bummed if Art Nation was to be scuppered – though half an hour a week to cover all our national arts landscape isn’t enough, imho. I’m just hoping ABC2 can continue showing local and international arts programs or there really won’t be anything remotely arty farty on FTA at all.

  8. I had to laugh when Michael Veitch ended up hosting Sunday Arts after all those years of cleverly sending it up on Fast Foward, sweet.
    ABC reminds me of a lost teenager, it ‘s always been there part of the Australian TV family but not the family’s overseas relatives are all coming to stay and the oldies it entertained aren’t here anymore so now it has to find a new niche in the family.,
    viewing has changed so much, it’s an absolute shame, people should like the Collectors, Can We Help etc.

    I just re-read all that and hope it makes sense… 🙂

  9. who’s watching arts on abc?
    Numbers rarely lie so if they’re shove them to iview only and get a little more mainstream for a little more of the time

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