At the Screen Forever conference earlier this week, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott said the broadcaster needed to invest in iview as more Australians turned to online platforms.
“One of our big priorities will be around investment in iview. iview is vital to our future. iview has had tremendous audience response and we need to continue to reinvest (in it),” he said.
“We think it can do more. Effectively we think of it as a channel in its own right, not just for catch-up services but as a destination.
“I think there are key sections of our audience for whom the schedule is a bewildering anachronism.’What do you mean I can only watch that programme at that time?'” he asked.
“The thing that our children and grandchildren will be most surprised by is the fact that you had to wait to watch a show.
“The fact that we showed something like The Code, which was fantastic, but had a cliffhanger. And we said ‘You just sit there and wait 167 hours to watch the next episode.’
“We need to continue to invest in iview to meet audience expectations.
“Unapologetically, iview is a priority.”
Scott said investment was needed not just in technical requirements but in original content. But if funding cuts were severe “then of course there is a content impact” across the broadcaster.
“Of course it’s easy to just pull the plug on content, but that’s exactly what we’re not doing. I can tell you there are more 40 different cost-cutting projects in support services alone,” he said.
“We’re not new to this. News 24 was created entirely through efficiencies. iview was created through efficiencies. Our host of online was created through efficiencies. We’re not new to the efficiency business.”
He also said ABC had offered SBS accommodation in its Southbank building, currently being expanded in Melbourne.
“40 years accommodation at peppercorn rent,” he stated.
Asked (again) about British animation Peppa Pig, he noted, “We are contracted with the fine pig family for a long period of time. No-one need have any concern.”
“And Lateline will be back next year.
“Lateline has been running for 20 years and there’s no doubt the service is an important part of our offering, but one of the debates we’ve had is where do you best run that?
“I mean we now have a 24 hour news channel.”