Axed BBC deal good timing for ABC

Savings made as a result of the axed BBC deal have been a "windfall" for the ABC.

2014-11-14_0119As the now-infamous loss of BBC first-run content begins to bite for the ABC, it hasn’t been all bad news.

The timing of the axed deal has come at a good time for the broadcaster.

“To be honest the savings we have made on the BBC deal have been a windfall for us in being able to reinvest in Australian content. It’s one of the reasons your seeing such a full and deep slate in 2015,” ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson told TV Tonight.

“We’re happy to be reinvesting in Australian content at a time when budgets are under pressure.”

The deal means ABC no longer has first-run rights to many scripted dramas and comedies, which will now fall to STV channel BBC First.

They include Call the Midwife, Last Tango in Halifax and The Wrong Mans. But in a year’s time ABC will have the option to purchase them.

Safe on ABC are Doctor Who and David Attenborough documentaries and the deal does not affect ITV titles.

“There is a 12 month holdback on content but we’re confident that audiences will very much appreciate the UK content we’re providing from both the BBC and other suppliers. Broadchurch from ITV is a great example.

“British content is still a really important part of our offer but we are really focused on Australian stories.”

15 Responses

  1. 30% of households have Foxtel now, but most of them only Entertainment but some of them have the Drama package so get BBC First and UK TV. Also DVDs will be out before they air on the ABC.

    That will reduce the numbers the ABC gets but probably not a huge amount. But since the ABC isn’t dependant on the ratings of individuals shows for funding it isn’t really an issue except for filling slots. Since they moved kids stuff of ABC1 they have been filling with UK dramas for pensioners.

  2. Dalmanic, I couldn’t care less about having to wait for BBC programs to come to the ABC. As long as we get to see them at some time. I don’t hang around with baited breath waiting for the latest release of TV programs, I’m not really aware that most exist until they appear on our screens.

    And msd, I watch a lot of catch-up stuff on my iPad, specially the more obscure programs on SBS. They have so much good stuff that bypasses most of the populace. Such a sham.

    1. I think many of the ABC are much like yourself, not aware of shows until they are scheduled and have no problem with it. Downton on Seven is a bit of an exception because it uses soapie storytelling and gets a lot of publicity. But I’m not convinced there are that many ABC viewers losing sleep waiting for the latest Scott and Bailey or Death in Paradise.

  3. If paying less for BBC content has assisted Aussie production then I’m fine with that.

    Dalmanic – You’re probably the exception rather than the rule. Most of these BBC shows skew older. Older viewers aren’t fussed about waiting and don’t really download. They aren’t likely to rush out and pay for TV either.

  4. New Tricks…old cast great…new cast also great…for me….
    I am happy for whatever time UK shows hit the ABC….I dont have a need to see everything right now…hot of the press….
    Take a breath people…as I always say..it is just TV.

  5. The ABC can pretend not to be concerned, but I think they will lose or have already lost people like me, who like to watch good quality drama.
    BBC First is my new favourite channel, and together with Showcase and FX I’m pretty happy.
    Sorry but I’ll not wait a year for things.

  6. I am surprised or I may have missed it but the 3 part drama of Cilla seems to have crept in to the ABC tomorrow night with no fanfare no promos.

    It actually got good write ups from the UK.

    This is part of the ITV deal well I am all for it.

  7. New Tricks is the ABC’s top rating show yet they have never said whether or not they are losing the exclusive rights. BBC First haven’t announced S11 while The ABC has for 2015, but that could be at the end of the year after the 12 months.

    Most of the ABC’s BBC shows that rate well are watched by over 60s. So their ratings will probably hold up on 12 month delay. The ABC used to delay them by almost a year anyway. Though the number of people with the Foxtel drama package could increase with the reduction in prices.

    Call the Midwife has lost its lead and Miranda Hart has been appearing a lot less. New Trick has lost all the original cast except for Waterman and been looking tired, though critics have said the writing in the first few episodes has been better.

    They BBC has provided the ABC with an easy way to fill lots of slots easily but in the long run they may be better…

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