ABC has begun screening promotions during programmes in primetime.
A week ago ABC ran both network promos and OxFam ads during the Comedy Festival Gala. While some viewers reacted to being asked to Text an automated phone line at $5 a pop, it was all for a good cause as a charity event.
But on Sunday’s Comedy Festival AllStars Supershow, which was not a charity event, promos interrupted just 20 minutes into the programme. ABC teased “Coming Up” acts before running promos for comedy titles.
Promos mid-programming are not new on ABC but in the past they have largely been confined to extended events such as New Year’s Eve or during News Breakfast where presenters have no break across three hours of Live broadcasts.
But under the new ABC management they have crept into primetime without explanation, at a time when advertising ABC is a hot topic.
“Mid program promos are unacceptable,” Margaret Reynolds, National President, ABC Friends told TV Tonight.
“ABCFriends will be raising this issue with Management along with a number of other issues relating to ABC Television programming.”
ABCFriends acknowledge their concerns about the way public broadcasting is being challenged in the current landscape but reiterate a need to keep viewers on side.
“The ‘advertising’ of ABC TV programs is repetitive and tedious so that by the time the program actually appears viewers have already tired of the promotion,” said Reynolds.
“We are of course totally opposed to any form of advertising on the ABC and its self promotion is not popular either.”
Promos are just one area of Programming that concerns ABCFriends.
“Clearly ABC television programming needs urgent review to ensure a greater focus on Australian content.
“ABC Friends continually advocates for a commitment to the screening of Australian documentaries and the experimental work of emerging local film maker.”
SBS lobby group Save Our SBS has also been opposed to mid-programme advertising, preferring them to run at the end of a programme.
ABC declined to comment.