Outsourcing of ABC TV Production

Outsourcing of ABC TV Production

“(It’s) like watching our branch die a kinda slow death”

Comment by ABC staffer, Perth, 29/04/2012

  • The policy of the ABC’s Board and management to outsource most TV production to the “independent sector”, rather than using the skills, experience and proven creativity of their existing workforce and nurturing new talent, has resulted in a trail of highly skilled and experienced staff leaving the national broadcaster
  • When the last ABC Perth-produced program, Can We Help?, ceased production mid-way through 2011, the contracts of many, mostly young program-makers and researchers were not renewed. The WA TV Production Unit became an unlit expanse of empty workstations, offices and under-utilised production facilities.
  • The only remaining regular television productions at ABC Perth outside of News and Current Affairs are WAFL games and their half-time fillers, plus the ANZAC Day March & Service.  Only one Television producer remains on staff.  It is expected that coverage of the WA Football League will go the way of the ABC’s coverage of the Tasmanian Football League which has now ceased.  In a letter to Mark Scott dated 3rd. July 2011, 30 ABC WA staff stated:  “The move (to new premises in East Perth in 2005) brought with it hopes that the ABC would regain confidence in internal production and use our new and improved studios to build programmes that brought a voice from the West to the national broadcaster.  (But) the so called Dalton model has resulted in the consistent dismantling of our production capacity and the outsourcing of production to the private sector.”

NB:  No reply to this letter has been received from Mr. Scott.

Questions that have to be asked: 

  • Why are taxpayer dollars going to independent producers via the outsourcing of television production?
  • Where is the analysis that proves that outside production is cheaper than in-house?  The ABC has commissioned such analysis in the past, but has always refused to release the findings.
  • By screening programs made by the same producers who make programs for the commercial networks and for sale to the international market, is the ABC failing to differentiate itself from the rest of the industry, thereby destroying its very reason for existence?
  • Has Mark Scott concentrated over much in the area of News and Current Affairs (eg:  ABC News24) to the detriment of other ABC services?
  • Where are the opportunities in television for media graduates to gain training and experience and the
    opportunity for employment at the national broadcaster, always a much sought-after gig?

FABC (WA) has written about these issues to ABC Managing Director Mark Scott (no reply received) and has also met with the ABC’s WA State Director, Geoff Duncan.

If you have concerns about the future of the ABC, its programming and/or policies, please consider writing to your Member of Parliament or Senator about these issues.  You can find names and addresses by following the links on this site:  http://www.aph.gov.au/