Today ABC Managing Director Mark Scott revealed that recent rumours about ABC outsourcing television production were true.
“I think the future for the ABC is to create some programs on its own, to create other programs of partnership,” he said.
“When we do that though, we need to ensure that all the productions we do – done in partnership or done internally – are done to the high standards that the ABC sets – our editorial policies, high standards for integrity and quality.”
However others, particularly the ABC staff union, are concerned that this will mean a loss of the ABC’s unique programming streams.
Graeme Thompson from the union explains: “If the ABC becomes nothing more than a broadcasting stick or tower for other people’s programs, it’s going to be increasingly hard to distinguish what’s different about the ABC from its commercial competitors.”
Worrying indeed. How would ‘Compass’ be altered if created by an outside production company? Less willing to be honest? Less broad in its spectrum of interest? We already know what a ‘Catalyst’ programme would look like if made by outsiders – it happened in 2001 when Jonathan Shier axed ‘Quantum’ and replaced it with a bought programme. The resulting disaster of a programme led to ‘Catalyst’ being commissioned. Let us hope that Kim Dalton learns the lessons of history…