ABC today released details of a proposed new structure for the public broadcaster.
From early next year, ABC content makers will be organised into teams of subject matter specialists which produce creative outputs across all ABC formats, devices and platforms.
The proposed new structure does not include any job losses, cuts to programs or a reduction in networks.
“Technology is unlocking new ways for consumers to be informed, educated and entertained,” ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, said today.
“Australian audiences are responding by embracing new formats, devices and platforms and increasingly demanding control of their viewing and listening schedules.
“The changes we are announcing today adapt to meet these shifts in technology and audience behaviour, and give our people the freedom to grasp the opportunities that await,” Ms Guthrie said.
The structure is said to reflect the changing behaviour of Australian audiences .
The proposed new structure will be based on three main teams:
News, Analysis & Investigations, led by Gaven Morris, currently Director, News. The team will be responsible for state coverage, network news and investigations and in-depth reporting.
Entertainment & Specialist, led by current ABC Director Television, David Anderson. This team will include children’s content, music and creative development, factual and entertainment, drama, comedy and indigenous programming.
Regional & Local, led by current Director Radio, Michael Mason, will include rural and regional teams, capital city and regional productions.
The ABC will also introduce a new Content Ideas Lab responsible for incubating initiatives to introduce ABC content to new audiences.
“The new structure will reduce overlap between ABC people covering the same subjects for multiple programs and platforms, and instead free them to focus on creating impactful, value adding stories that can reach audiences however and wherever they choose to engage,” Ms Guthrie said.
“The result will be extended reach and relevance, a better experience for our audience and an ABC that, in a fragmented landscape, provides the critical space for debate, dialogue and ideas,” she said.
Ms Guthrie said the structure delivered on the ABC’s Charter at a time of rapid change.
“By keeping what is central – our Charter, our sense of public service and our presence across the nation – and purposefully adapting the way we work to meet the changing expectations of our audiences, we can deepen our connection to citizens,” Ms Guthrie said.
“In a time of unprecedented disruption, the ABC’s role is more important than ever. It means there is a heavy onus on us to ensure we make the right decisions to maintain relevance and value,” she said.
The new structure has been developed in consultation with ABC content leaders and follows the Investing In Audiences strategy announced in March 2017. It will take effect early next year following consultation with ABC employees.
Also announced today, ABC will fast-track the recruitment of up to 40 regional reporters, producers and presenters under its Connecting Communities initiative first announced in March 2017.
The initiative, originally planned for completion by July 2018, will create up to 80 new content roles as part of a $15.4 million annual funding boost to strengthen the ABC’s coverage and services in rural and regional Australia.
Approximately $4 million is also being invested by the ABC in new tools and equipment for regional teams across the country to enhance video and digital reporting for local and national audiences.
ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, said that accelerating the Connecting Communities initiative will result in greater local coverage for regional Australians across platforms and across the week.
“Connecting Communities will increase our regional workforce by almost 20% which allows our reporters to spend more time in the field covering local stories that may also be of state and national interest,” Ms Guthrie said.
“We’ve received feedback that Australians want to hear, read and watch more news and information about their community and be part of national conversations.
“We are developing local weekly newsletters and expanding weekend coverage from regional Australia, as well as enabling our reporters to spend time in some of the most remote parts of this country.
“Our commitment to regional Australia continues to grow. Last month, we announced a $1 million investment in live audio streaming services to enable an additional 19 regional communities to listen to their local radio stations online and via mobile.
“In September, we announced ABC Weather – an initiative which explores the science behind weather events, their impact on the landscape and people.
“Today marks an important milestone for the ABC and for regional audiences – as we are continuing to expand our coverage and services in regional Australia at a time when some media outlets are scaling back,” Ms Guthrie said.
Connecting Communities was announced in March as part of the ABC’s Investing in Audiences strategy.