ABC audience tracking identifies downward trends
Report says community sentiment for ABC is declining, but remains ahead of Commercial interests on several fronts.
The number of ABC’s audience who believe it is providing a valuable service or is accurate and impartial when reporting news and current affairs, has slipped in recent years.
ABC’s Corporate Tracking Program is conducted three times per year among a nationally representative sample of people aged 18-75 years, via an online methodology.
According to its Annual Report 2020 the results of the program show support for ABC is ahead of Commercial TV on several fronts, but also indicates a downward trend for the public broadcaster.
78% of people who value the ABC and its services to the community -but the same question was 86% in 2016.
72% of people believe the ABC is accurate and impartial when reporting news and current affairs -down from 77% in 2016.
There were also downward trends on the following Charter points compared to 2016:
- 77% of people regard the ABC to be distinctively Australian and contributing to Australia’s national identity.
- 76% of people believe the ABC reflects the cultural diversity of the Australian community.
- 74% of people consider the ABC encourages and promotes Australian performing arts such as music and drama.
- 72% of people consider the ABC provides programs of an educational nature.
- 73% of people consider the ABC achieves a good balance between programs of wide appeal and specialised interest.
- 69% of people perceive the ABC to be innovative.
66% of people believe the ABC is efficient and well managed, also down from 69% in 2016.
But the results were stable for 78% of people who believe the ABC provides quality programming in Television (it was 69% for Commercial TV) and improved for the 92% of people who believe the ABC provides quality programming Online.
78% of Australian adults aged 18-75 years trust the information that the ABC provides: significantly higher than the levels of trust recorded for internet search engines such as Google (70%), Commercial Radio (60%), Commercial TV (59%), Newspaper publishers (58%) and Facebook (35%).
The Annual Report also outlined editorial complaint issues across 2019-20
Factual inaccuracy 922 26.6%
Bias (other than party political)* 819 23.7%
Inappropriate content 657 19.0%
Party political bias 360 10.4%
Lack of balance 293 8.5%
Unfair treatment 253 7.3%
Other 157 4.5%
Total 3461 100.0%
* Includes claims of bias in relation to issues such as international coverage, sport and religion.