ABC annual report reveals $11.8m loss, double previous year’s advertising spend

The ABC spent $5.5m on advertising during the last financial year, a spend of more than double the previous year’s $2.7m.

The figures come in a year when the ABC reported an annual loss of $18.4m, after originally forecasting a budget loss of just $11.1m for FY 2020, following the Federal Government’s decision to cut the public broadcaster’s budget by $84m over three years.

The figures were delivered in the ABC’s latest annual report, in which chair Ita Buttrose said those who desire an ABC-less Australia should be “careful what they wish for”.

“They should be careful what they wish for because an Australia without the ABC would not be well informed and our country’s future would be diminished,” she said.

The ABC responded to news of its budget shortfall earlier this year by cutting up to 250 jobs, plus ABC Life and Comedy, as part of a five-year blueprint.

Now it’s been revealed that those redundancies saw the broadcaster pay out a significant $35.7m to former staff.

Despite these cuts, the ABC upped its marketing spend for the past year, with the $5.5m bringing the total cost of market research and promotion to a $12m, a five year high.

Buttrose added; “At the time of writing Australians are continuing to turn to the ABC to keep up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 developments and hear the important messages from governments.

“They trust us to deliver the advice and information they are seeking.”

Managing director David Anderson with ABC chair Ita Buttrose

In the report, the ABC pointed to its position as the top digital news brand in Australia (which it first achieved in January), while ABC News channels on TV and radio reached 4.45m metropolitan Australians

Managing director David Anderson said the ABC will continue to decentralise its workforce, had has committed to relocating 75% of content staff out of the broadcaster’s Ultimo base.

“In the coming year, the ABC will prioritise its goal to become Australia’s premier digital media innovator and a leader in anticipating the on-demand and personalised ways people seek their information and entertainment,” he said.

“This year has shown that the future is never predictable, but we will continue to uphold the highest editorial values and deliver the most trusted public interest journalism, coverage and information for all Australians, everywhere.”

This year’s losses followed a surplus of $38.3m in the previous financial year.


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