ABC is now at 4c a day

8c a day per capita to fund the ABC in 1987 -but now only half that figure runs your ABC.

8c a day for your ABC? Not bloody likely.

It was back in the 1980s that 8c a day was touted as the figure it cost per capita to run the public broadcaster. And while it is still often quoted, the reality is far from the truth.

After successive government cuts, the figure is now down to half that -4c a day. I guess 5c with rounding…?

At the Annual General Public Meeting today in Sydney, ABC Chief Financial Officer Louise Higgins explained how the broadcaster is adept at driving that money further.

“Our per capita funding is 34% lower than the average of other public broadcasters, including the BBC. In fact, we serve a population one-third the size of the UK, but do it with a budget one-eighth that of the BBC,” she said.

“Back in 1987, your ABC famously cost each Australian eight cents a day. In 1987 dollar terms we now cost each Australian just four cents a day. In other words, our per capita funding has halved in real terms.

“We’ve learnt to do a lot with our few cents a day. We’ve added multiple new television, radio and digital platforms. We have also increased our investment in quality Australian programs. In fact, for the money spent by Netflix on just two series of House of Cards, the ABC funded no fewer than 50 quality Australian programs, including 24 drama series.”

Higgins pointed to cuts in bureaucracy and unnecessary expenses, cutting back on managers and travel,  and lowering transmission and distribution costs as part of the wider strategy to stretch the cents…

“By the end of 2018 our savings over the last the five years will have increased to $324 million; of which we have handed back 78% to government and put the balance back into content for you, our audiences,” she said.

“Despite the ABC’s declining funding and efficiency initiatives, we have invested wisely to ensure we remained true to our core, never compromising on our charter obligations. No other Australian media organisation, is as trusted, valued, or as distinctive as the ABC.”

You can read more from her speech here.


14 Responses

  1. Regional and provincial cities around Australia should get a refund becuase in reality the ABC only caters for capital cities on tV on radio most of the content is for the capital cities .hearing about some warehouse fire in Melbourne on abc newsbreakfast is not a National news story or spending endless hours discussing about the Lord Mayor of Melbourne on a national breakfast show resigning is of no interest to anyone outside of Melbourne city

  2. If my maths is any good, that’s $14.61 each. I guess some people would still prefer the extra 3 or 4 coffees a year.
    I’m happy with the job the ABC does, personally think it’s unbiased but, oh well, opinions are opinions.

  3. 4c a day in 1987’s money, that’s less than $15 a year. I wish I new what that was in today’s money, but based on 45c for a Mars Bar in 1987, and $2.00 now, that’s just under $65. To me, that’s the best value for $65 I get on anything..

  4. If the 4c is in 1987 terms, then it would cost significantly more per capita in 2018 terms (relative to how we currently perceive the value of the Australian dollar). They’re being deliberately vague and facetious with their choice of words. Now I’m curious as to how much it *really* costs per capita.

  5. Still too much! ABC had a purpose when in some regions it was the only outlet for news and entertainment. Those days are over. Now, all the ABC does is take the readers and viewers from competitively run businesses. It’s also a voice of the Left that needs its funding removed.

    1. Still too much? 4c is a day is a bargain.The ABC is more important than ever these days in the era of “Fake News” from the Right. Look at the Right Wing slanted views from talk back radio, News Corp and Sky News the Right Wing Opionist muddy the waters or just flat out lie to their flock of sheep. Don’t worry Sky News with the likes of Andrew Bolt, Paul Murray and Co. will tell you what to think and when you should feel outraged….

      I would like to know how much of my premium subscription goes to Sky News on a daily basis???? Somthing tells me it’s more than 4c a day….. And Foxtel won’t let me have the option of dropping the channel.

      1. Sky news and Fox are private companies. Like Fairfax is to the left, they can be as biased as they want. Their readership pay to keep the companies afloat. The ABC just continues it’s agenda with no private funding, just tax payer funding. Get rid of it!

  6. Incredible statistics. Makes me even more proud of the work they do. When the budget gets back into surplus the Government should boost funding so they can invest in more scripted Australian content.

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