Efficiency review recommends more collaboration by ABC & SBS

More back office collaboration recommended, but questions over 'off Charter' content resurface in govt review.


An efficiency review into ABC & SBS headed by former Foxtel boss Peter Tonagh and former media regulator Richard Bean, has been completed.

The Age reports 100-plus page documents have been handed to management teams at ABC and SBS.

They recommend more back-office collaboration between the public broadcasters, but also draw attention to “off Charter” content including ABC Life and SBS Food.

That’s despite a separate review, by former ABC director of television Sandra Levy, former Free TV chief executive Julie Flynn and former Productivity Commission head of office Robert Kerr, recently clearing both broadcasters of too much “off-Charter” content.

Both were also recently cleared of having an unfair competitive advantage over their commercial rivals.

The review ordered by the Turnbull government in 2018 did not consider changes to either the public broadcaster’s charter, the editorial policies of the national broadcasters, allowing advertising on the ABC, charging for digital services, privatisation or a merger of the two.

3 Responses

  1. A merger would not work, the respective business cultures are too dissimilar. The internal culture at SBS is a very commercially focused corporate business like now unlike the public broadcasting culture that existed there up until about 20 years ago when it would have been easier to merge. Better off now to sell off SBS and use the proceeds and transfer the ongoing budget savings to put resources back into the ABC I would argue.

  2. While there would be some issues to iron out, I dont know why we cant merge the ABC and SBS?

    They could have:
    – ABC & SBS maintaining their own distinct programming styles and content.
    – Independent budgets for production and programming.
    – Shared services such as studios, admin functions (HR, finance, admin)

    I can see so many so many synergies that could be created under a combined entity, whilst maintaining distinct voices that each platform provides. Its just relies the govt of the day to do it and put the right checks and balances in place.

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