ABC Director of Television Kim Dalton told ABC radio host Jon Faine that funding at the ABC was under pressure and impacting on its ability to acquire feature programming.
“Five, six, seven, eight years ago Downton Abbey would have been on the ABC. We cannot afford to buy Downton Abbey anymore. We just don’t have the funds to buy Downton Abbey anymore,” he said.
He said ABC makes a modest amount of money from commercial enterprises, including DVD sales but the downturn in retail and diminishing DVD sales had now sent revenue “south.”
“That’s had an impact for us as well,” he said.
But in defending a mix of in-house and outsourcing production he questioned whether critics were suggesting favourite programmes should be cut in favour of ABC-produced content.
“I don’t know whether people are seriously suggesting that we should stop showing programmes like Paper Giants or Angry Boys or Gruen Transfer or we should get The Chaser off our screens, or all the documentaries that we screen that people love, the Australian ones… whether we should get those of our screens as well?
“I’m not quite sure what’s being proposed here,” he said.