As the negative press about the ABC’s loss of young audiences continues, reports have emerged claiming a dramatic change of emphasis away from the broadcaster’s traditional media outlets.

That’s in spite of a recent study that found young Australians were moving away from getting their news from social media, and were instead returning to traditional platforms.

Channel Nine newspapers media and telecommunications reporter Zoe Samios recently published a story entitled: “ABC to shift spending from TV and radio to digital in bid to win youth audiences.”

The article, which is behind a paywall, quoted anonymous sources who said the ABC’s five year plan was being “refreshed” to try to arrest the drastic fall in youth audiences being experienced by the public broadcaster.

Samios claims funding will be redirected to online and iview offerings, as opposed to TV and radio. She wrote:

Any changes in allocation of spending have the potential to impact the amount of money spent on television programs and radio broadcasts across Australia. This could mean cutting costs in traditional programming and investing more in teams that can reach younger Australians online, such as through social media or ABC’s online video site, iview. Plans to invest more in digital also coincide with the appointment of Nine’s former technology boss, Damian Cronan.


The ABC has not responded to the claims.

The report follows the recent release of Canberra University’s 2022 Digital News Report, that found that young Australian audiences are starting to reject news on social media and are instead turning to traditional sources.

The report found that television is still the primary source of news for about 60% of Australians.

The report found:

  • Trust in (all) news generally has fallen slightly to 41% (-2) and distrust has risen to 30% (+2).
  • Younger generations say they are less reliant on social media for news; those in Gen Z saying social is their main source of news (46%) fell by 8 percentage points from 2021.
  • TikTok continues to rise; TikTok usage has doubled since 2020 (7% to 15%), and one-third of users say they use it for news.
  • Use of smart TVs for news is growing; One in four (23%) Australians use smart TVs to access news, and TV remains the most popular main source of news (42%).
  • Experience of Covid-19 misinformation is up; those saying they saw false and misleading info about Covid-19 increased by 4 percentage points from 2021.
  • Almost one in five (18%) don’t pay attention to climate change news; but 42% say they want news outlets to focus more on what governments and large companies can do about it.
  • More Australians are paying for online news; 18% now pay for news online and this is a 5 percentage point increase since 2021.


The 2022 report found that, after years of stagnation, paying for news has increased.

Print news consumption has risen for the first time in six years, and the use of regional and local newspapers is up as well.

Trusted traditional and public service broadcasters remain the most popular sources of news and it was found that there continues to be a strong audience appreciation for journalistic values of impartiality and independence.

Phil Evans


Director of Rhizomatic. Since 2019, Phil has been the NationBuilder Administrator for ABC Friends.