ABC to cut investment in traditional channels in a move to become ‘digital-first’

The ABC is striding towards a “digital-first” future of the organisation, with the goal of bringing more than half of its audience engagement to digital services by 2028, while decreasing its investment in traditional broadcast channels.

In a new five-year plan published on Friday, ABC outlined its vision to invest in its core digital products – ABC Listen, ABC iview and ABC News – between 2023 and 2028.

Meanwhile, ABC’s television multichannels will be “repositioned” to align with audience preferences, and investment in AM radio will be reduced.

“Made-for-digital content will be produced for ABC iview and ABC Listen as well as major third-party platforms,” the public broadcaster said in the report.

“This will free up content makers and journalists to prioritise digital distribution on ABC digital products, and content will not need to be held back to meet broadcast schedule requirements.”

The new roadmap replaced the original five-year plan that should have been in place until 2025, which introduced a series of cost-saving measures.

It came after the broadcaster flagged a major divisional restructuring in May that resulted in an unspecified number of redundancies and folded the regional bureau into the news division.

ABC managing director David Anderson said: “As we move through this period of digital evolution, Australians can continue to rely on us for the content and services that inform, educate and entertain.

“Our audiences can be assured we will safeguard traditional broadcast services as long as these remain essential for keeping Australians informed and entertained.

“As Australia changes, so must the ABC.”

The ABC, alongside its public service broadcaster peer SBS, have moved to five-year funding terms in the May federal budget. $1.1 billion is allocated to the ABC annually, and $334.9 million for SBS.

At the time, ABC welcomed the “new funding certainty” coming off from the coalition government’s funding freeze, as Anderson said it reflected the ABC’s “important role in Australian life and the value it delivers to the community”.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.