The ABC has followed the recent announcement of its digital-focused major restructure with a new five-year plan to guide the broadcaster to become a fully integrated digital operation.
Releasing the new five-year plan on 9 June, ABC Managing Director, David Anderson, said that while broadcast will remain important, the plan and supporting restructure will “build an ABC that is prepared for a digital-majority audience”.
“By 2028, the ABC will serve more Australians on the platform of their choice with made-for-digital content and journalism on ABC News, ABC iview, ABC listen and on major third-party platforms” he said.
Anderson said the ABC will “safeguard traditional broadcast services as long as these remain essential for keeping Australians informed and entertained. As Australia changes, so must the ABC”.The ABC will enhance its primary digital products - ABC News, ABC iview and ABC listen – to assist audiences to more easily discover relevant content.
Anderson said that the plan also prioritises strengthening audience trust and the ABC being more local.
To enable delivery of the new five-year plan, the ABC will undergo the “most significant content restructure of the ABC since 2017”.
The restructure – which takes effect on 1 July – will result in the ABC operating across two major divisions – News and Content. Regional journalists will move into the News division, while radio networks, including Radio National and Triple J, will merge with TV into the Content division.
The new enlarged News Division, led by Director, News, Analysis and Investigations, Justin Stevens, will, according to Anderson, “streamline production processes as the ABC moves to a digital-first model, ensuring the stories of regional Australia are embedded in all ABC news coverage and available immediately in multiple formats across ABC and third-party platforms".
The new ABC Content division will be created and led by recently appointed Chief Content Officer, Chris Oliver-Taylor. Adopting a more centralised approach to content development will “reduce the complexity of the current commissioning model, and ensure we work more effectively with Australia’s external creative sector”.
Anderson said there will also be increased opportunity to commission “the most important and compelling Australian stories across a range of genres, generating more value from our investments".
In an email to staff, Anderson said that there are some 600 ABC content makers across regional Australia, operating from 58 locations outside the state and territory capitals.
Conceding that there would be job losses, Anderson said it would mostly be senior staff who would either be made redundant or redeployed.
ABC Friends response
National President, Cassandra Parkinson, said while it is too early for a definitive response, ABC Friends needs to let David Anderson know “that we will be watching closely”.
Parkinson said it is crucial that the ABC doesn't neglect its traditional audience in its inevitable move to greater digital output.
“We need to consider what that means for audiences who don't have access to the internet or who are less likely to use digital platforms,” she said.
Do you like this page?