It’s enough to make you. Think.
A Senate inquiry into ABC cuts has been told the public broadcaster’s budget for commissioning entertainment shows has been impacted by the cost of running ABC News 24 and online content.
The submission representing Independent producers who have delivered ABC shows such as The Chaser, Summer Heights High, Enough Rope, Two Men in a Tinnie and The Gruen Transfer claim the commissioning budget for entertainment has dropped 40 per cent in four years, from $13.5 million in 2008-09 to $9.2 million in 2011-12.
“There’s less money now for two channels [ABC1 and ABC2] than there was when there was just one channel,” producer Nick Murray (Cordell Jigsaw) told The Age.
The submission calls for the ABC to adopt a commissioning model similar to the BBC, with 50 per cent of programs made internally, 25 per cent externally and 25 per cent up for competitive tender.
“If a show can be produced more effectively internally, then it will be favoured over a similar, external production … [on the condition that] internal programs be properly budgeted and resources charged at the same rate as the external programs are charged,” the producers say.
The Senate inquiry is due to table its report on October 12th.
A second article in today’s Age (and a very good read) also looks at why the broadcaster has been losing shows such as The Graham Norton Show, which is headed to TEN, and why BBC docos such as Inside the Human Body, Richard Hammond’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Polar Bears on Ice are increasingly appearing on commercial broadcasters.
”We will continue to lose shows,” ABC2 controller Stuart Menzies says. ”It’s upsetting but it’s not something you can wail about too much because there’s a definite ceiling we’re willing to pay for things. We’re a public broadcaster who’s about bringing value and a different audience to ABC2 and if a commercial channel wants to pay X times what we can pay then that’s what happens.”
Menzies recently acknowledged ABC had been outbid on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report by Foxtel.
UPDATE: Alan Sunderland, Head of Policy ABC writes on TV Tonight:
“For the umpteenth time, let me confirm that the funding for ABC News 24 was provided from savings achieved as a result of the introduction of new technologies, and not one dollar was taken from any other existing area of the ABC’s operations.”