ABC will Live stream its primary channel from December.
It will join the already-streaming ABC News 24.
ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson told the Screen Forever Conference in Melbourne yesterday the unique reach of services like iview were increasing.
“The growth in connected TVs, the Freeview Plus product, fresh content offers and an industry now fully engaged in the digital challenge, gives me hope we can hold our position,” he said.
“And we must. Indeed we must be happy to allow, over time, on-demand to eat broadcast.
“Because if we don’t do it ourselves, someone else will gladly do it for us.”
The ABC have been negotiating an new Terms of Trade with Screen Producers Australia.
The agreement provides for greater flexibility in showing content across platforms, live streaming of content, an extended catch up window, and additional broadcast runs in return for a shorter licence period with producers.
The streaming of ABC’s primary channel is expected to clone the Sydney primary channel. An ABC spokesperson told TV Tonight testing and negotiations were still underway, with a launch date yet to be confirmed. It isn’t yet clear if ABC2 and ABC3 will be available at launch.
Meanwhile Richard Finlayson also took aim at the actors union MEAA yesterday, over The Australian Television Repeats and Residuals Agreement.
“Think about this. While Friends, Seinfield and Hogans Heroes are almost as ubiquitous as the Kardashians – where are the Australian classic shows?” he said.
“The ABC has not relicensed an Australian drama or comedy for over a decade. No Kath and Kim; no Seachange; certainly no Norman Gunston. ATRRA residuals make this impossible. It costs multiple times more to re-licence a second run of a local scripted Australian story than it does to acquire an international show.
“MEAA is not only behaving like King Canoot, standing against the digital tide, but ultimately depriving their members of income. And they are certainly depriving Australian audiences of Australian content.
“We have no choice but to be agile. Australian actors, producers, broadcasters….we are all in this together.”
The ABC spokesperson also told TV Tonight a switch of its primary channel to High Definition is planned for the second half of 2016.