Another call to merge ABC and SBS
Outgoing chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman says that ABC and SBS should be merged.
Outgoing chairman of the ABC, Maurice Newman has told The Australian that ABC and SBS should be merged.
It’s a line that has been floated before, but curiously it wasn’t one that generated any traction under his own reign.
But with less than one month from his retirement, it’s now being raised again. He says he has been trying to convince the directors of the board to back a merger during his five-year term as chairman.
“I pursued it for five years and again during my previous term. I think it is an idea that has come but unfortunately not on my watch.
“SBS doesn’t need a separate broadcasting station. There’s only one underwriter and that’s the taxpayer,” he told the newspaper.
ABC is known to be far more reluctant on the idea than SBS, now managed by a former ABC exec, Michael Ebeid. Under punishing financial constraints, SBS is hoping for a lifeline in the May budget.
SBS has previously floated concepts for more multichannels, including an Indigenous channel, but funding is the key to any growth.
But the idea of a merger may only interest those who are closer to the problem. Across three Audience Inventory surveys on TV Tonight from 2009-11, the idea of merging public broadcasters has repeatedly attracted a “Not Important” vote from readers.
Newman’s replacement will be announced in the new year.