Daily Bulletin


Daily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation Contributor
image

ABC managing director Mark Scott’s speech to the National Press Club today had the quietly confident tone of a CEO who knows he’s leaving his organisation in broadly better shape than he found it; or that at least he is leaving it in one, reasonably healthy piece. These are turbulent times for all media organisations, and all media executives.

Not that the ABC has in recent times been a “problem” in the sense that its opponents often assert. It was always a lean, mean, public service machine, receiving much less per capita than the BBC, while expected to do the same, rather amazing, kind of thing. In simple terms, its remit is to provide content and culture that is deemed important and valuable to the Australian nation as a whole, including but not restricted to content that the commercial market will not deliver.

The ABC is not a market-failure organisation – and Scott has often emphasised that point – but a publicly owned and managed cultural resource in an increasingly fragmented and chaotic media environment where billionaire barons cannot simply be left to their own devices.

In 30 years the ABC’s share of Australia’s GDP has fallen by two-thirds, yet it regularly attracts public approval ratings in excess of 80% (Newspoll). Scott leaves an ABC not in crisis, or decline, but on the cusp of a digital future in which public service values will be more not less important. As he put it:

A well-funded ABC is one sure bet in an uncertain, unstable media world. It is the way of ensuring that the Australian conversations, culture and stories that shape our sense of Australian identity, are present in the mix. Available free-of-charge in every Australian home.

That this mix includes every sector and niche of the internet should go without saying, but Scott said it anyway, to those who argue that the online market should be left to the Murdochs and Berlusconis of this world, while public service media be allowed to sink into stately decline – rather like vinyl records in the era of Spotify.

Scott has done his bit to keep the ABC both financially viable and culturally valuable as one of the world’s most effective and efficient public service media organisations, leading major digitally driven reforms which have, as one would expect, been controversial but absolutely necessary.

The passing of time demonstrates the fundamental correctness of his strategy. However, it will be up to his successor to manage the ABC’s consolidation and long-term sustainability in the face of hostility from the private sector.

Scott’s remarks ended with the suggestion that the ABC and SBS should merge, utilising the niche-targeting capabilities of digital platforms to satisfy the needs and demands of what have until now been distinctive – if often overlapping – user groups.

This reminds me of the Channel 4/BBC relationship in the UK, and the issue it raised. In Australian terms, do we really need two public service media organisations in a country of just 20 million-plus, when there are now – because of digital and internet technologies – hundreds if not thousands of channels available for any language, ethnic, religious, professional or lifestyle-oriented niche group we might decide wants it?

The taxpayers and media audiences of Australia will ultimately determine if the political will exists to support both the ABC and SBS into the future. But Scott does no harm by placing the issue so prominently on the agenda. His record gives him a legitimate platform from which to talk about the future of public service media in Australia, and to remind those who support its values not to take the ABC for granted.

Authors: The Conversation Contributor

Read more http://theconversation.com/fired-with-enthusiasm-from-beginning-to-end-mark-scott-says-goodbye-54727

Writers Wanted

Schitt's Creek: the TV show has been showered with Emmys but is it worth the hype?

arrow_forward

COVID-19 and small island nations: what we can learn from New Zealand and Iceland

arrow_forward

'If JobSeeker was cut, the unemployed would be picking fruit'? Why that's not true

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Did BLM Really Change the US Police Work?

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has proven that the power of the state rests in the hands of the people it governs. Following the death of 46-year-old black American George Floyd in a case of ...

a Guest Writer - avatar a Guest Writer

Scott Morrison: the right man at the right time

Australia is not at war with another nation or ideology in August 2020 but the nation is in conflict. There are serious threats from China and there are many challenges flowing from the pandemic tha...

Greg Rogers - avatar Greg Rogers

Prime Minister National Cabinet Statement

The National Cabinet met today to discuss Australia’s COVID-19 response, the Victoria outbreak, easing restrictions, helping Australians prepare to go back to work in a COVID-safe environment an...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Ten tips for landing a freelance transcription job

Transcription jobs are known to be popular in the field of freelancing. They offer fantastic job opportunities to a lot of people, but there are some scammers who wait to cheat the freelancers. ...

News Company - avatar News Company

How To Remove Rubbish More Effectively

It can be a big task to remove household rubbish. The hardest part is finding the best way to get rid of your junk. It can be very overwhelming to know exactly where to start with so many option...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Tips To Pass Skills Certifications Tests

Developing the right set of skills is valuable not only to your career, but for life in general. You can get certified in these skills through obtaining a license. Without a certified license, y...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion