Animal crackers

The ABC is suffering from a profound identity crisis. It is uncertain about its place in a crowded media landscape, unnerved by its critics and unsure of its future.

Last night I chaired a forum for the Centre for Independent Studies on the purpose of public broadcasting. The question was not, ‘is the ABC is doing a good job?’ but ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

Bludger: Peppa celebrates her latest ABC contract

Bludger: Peppa celebrates her latest ABC contract

For evidence of the institution’s profound cultural confusion, let us consider Peppa Pig, imported from the UK, broadcast on the ABC’s pre-school digital channel and downloaded 19 million times last year from ABC iview.

In Britain Peppa is a proud and independent pig, broadcasting on the free-to-air commercial Channel Five without a penny of public money. She is the face of a highly successful independent British production house -  Entertainment One – that earns well over a billion pounds a year from her worldwide.

In Australia. she’s a bludger, living on welfare doled out by a government-funded institution that its managing director aspires to make “the baby sitter of choice for every parent in Australia.”

Is this really what the ABC was put on earth to do? Where’s the public purpose in using public money to fatten up this cheeky little grunter?

Is it the role of the ABC – or indeed any other public institution – to promote an anthropomorphic celebrity while flogging its ephemeral merchandise through the back door? (The Peppa Pig Quilt Cover, price $39.99, will be arriving in ABC Shops in June.)

In these fiscally restrained times, shouldn’t this particular little piggy be going to market? 

Footnote: The ABC still capable of quality broadcasting. Highlights of last night’s discussion with Paul Kelly, Andrew West and Brendan O’Neill were recorded by Radio National for future transmission.

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 11.02.34 am

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Animal crackers

  1. Toiling Mass

    Peppa Pig?

    What is the ABC doing, serving as a lackey for an unclean animal?

    I am putting a fatwa on the ABC.

  2. RodClarke

    They also have “Childrens News” on ABC3 with lots of focus on “Asylum Seekers” and “Climate chance”

  3. ChrisPer

    I posted on an Online Opinion form some FotABC drone, my condemnation of the as a propaganda unit for political correctness and willing tool of ALP and Greens.

    It doesnt deserve any public money at all. There is no ‘market failure’ that requires us to fund a left-wing sabotage operation; no sudden shortage of global warming propaganda that needs a publicly funded lobotomy for all Australians.

    Shut it down
    Fire them all.
    Sell the real estate.

  4. blogstrop

    ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

    Put it under Catallaxy management, whereupon it could more properly educate, entertain and inform.

  5. Toiling Mass

    ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

    As opposed to

    “what do we want the ABC to do?”

    I expect them to do things I don’t want – and they always deliver.

  6. Will from Hastings

    I have often wondered why ABC3 exists. My kids (9, 7, & 5) watch it more than any other channel (abeit we don’t have Foxtel). One reason we don’t NEED Foxtel!!!
    Surely the whole channel can be sold to the private sector. I know my kids don’t give 2 hoots if there are ads or not.
    Cheers

  7. H B Bear

    In 2014 a government owned media conglomerate makes about as much sense as a government owned fibre optic cable network. Oh hang on …

    Any possible argument for government ownership of media companies probably ended some time in the 1980s with the advent of multi-channel FTA television and the beginnings of the internet. There can be little doubt that over three quarters of the ABC activities do nothing more than crowd out private for-profit market participants.

    The ABC retains little in-house production capability for drama and simply serves as a non-value adding conduit to external (often ex-ALPBC) production houses. ALPBC news and current affairs is neither authoritative nor timely – witness both sides of politics preferring SKY to host and broadcast the leaders debates during the election. Four Corners increasing follows on the investigative journalism of the major newspapers.

    At best you could argue the ALPBC should retain a rural radio network and one or two specialist capital city radio stations.

  8. .

    Then rationale behind the ABC, SBS, NITV and even the NBN, and much of the remit of the Ministry of Communication (or whatever the hell it is called today) is obsolete.

    ACMA and all the bodies can go…for a 2 bn dollar saving equal to the fees they collect. Top down salary and efficiency cuts can then make up for any shortfall.

  9. Bruce of Newcastle

    As I write the ABC is happily reporting the fall of O’Farrell on their lunchtime news. They would be wise to read Miranda Devine this morning, who is saying to them from the back of their chariot ‘remember you are mortal’.

    Miranda’s article is enviscerating and uses all six barrels of her M134 Minigun. Well worth a read:

    Jellyfish at the helm as Hamster plumbs the depths

    Defund them.

  10. brc

    I can see the argument for parents wanting commercial free children’s programming.

    I cannot see why this can’t be funded as a separate channel funded by subscribers.

    It works for Wikipedia despite having billions of freeloaders.

    They could get celebrity guests to come on and plead for your cash to keep the kiddies channel open.

    There is no reason to ask taxpayers in general to fund kids programming. It should not be a part of a governments function.

  11. Rabz

    There can be little doubt that over three quarters of the ABC activities do nothing more than crowd out private for-profit market participants.

    I saw an ad on Foxtel last night for their new BBC First channel. Looks like the ALPBC got crowded out there – for a change.

    Funnily enough, about the only only programming I ever used to watch on the ALPBC before I banned it completely was some occasional BBC fare.

    Mantra time.

  12. Grumbles

    The Government. Serving the needs of the people.

  13. .

    I cannot see why this can’t be funded as a separate channel funded by subscribers.

    It works for Wikipedia despite having billions of freeloaders.

    The ABC is obsolete.

    Shut it down.

    Take the savings to pay down Swan and Wong’s dangerous and offensive debt.

  14. Is this really what the ABC was put on earth to do?

    To operate as a bulwark against this crap.

  15. Is this really what the ABC was put on earth to do?

    To operate as a bulwark against this crap.

  16. FlyBoy

    I saw an ad on Foxtel last night for their new BBC First channel. Looks like the ALPBC got crowded out there – for a change.

    I hope FTA and Foxtel start going for the ABC audience (they have multiple channels) and prove that the ABC is obsolete – government can assist by asking the ABC to cover so much it does everything badly or by death of a 1000 efficiency audits. Takes time but …..

  17. larrikin

    ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

    die with dignity (or without, whatever)

  18. .

    1735099
    #1266967, posted on April 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm
    Is this really what the ABC was put on earth to do?

    To operate as a bulwark against this crap.

    No, it wasn’t.

    The ABC is obsolete.

  19. Is this really what the ABC was put on earth to do?

    To operate as a bulwark against this crap.

    Ah yes. This was back in the days when the NSW government owned a time machine. Jack Lang shot forward to 2013 and realised that someone in the Australian media may be slightly critical of the leftist persuasion.

    So he rushed back and went to tell James Sculllin, but was too late – Scullin had just been replaced by Joe Lyons. And Jack Lang had used up all the power in the time machine’s vulcanite-and-bakelite-battery powered engine, so he couldn’t prove his claims.

    Joe Lyons, being a good Catholic, told him that time travel was the work of the devil, and no-one else believed Lang, so he lost power as NSW Premier. A story had to be invented to cover it all up, so they had their constitutional crisis. Nonetheless, Joe Lyons, being a Catholic and thinking in centuries, still made sure that the ABC got going, just in case there was something in Lang’s ravings.

    At last, the truth comes out.

  20. Eddystone

    1735099
    1735099
    #1266967, posted on April 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm
    Is this really what the ABC was put on earth to do?

    To operate as a bulwark against this crap.

    Ha ha, oh dear, 90210, Hammy does this schtick so much better.

  21. nilk

    I can see the argument for parents wanting commercial free children’s programming.

    Rubbish. With dvds, video streaming, and youtube there is no need for “commercial free” children’s programming.

    We’ve watched three seasons of My Little Pony on youtube commercial free with no problems.

    We’ve watched ALPBC content on iview, and have an extensive dvd library so there is no excuse for nothing to watch.

    Who, in this day and age, actually needs tv stations?

    I cancelled my Foxtel subscription 12 years ago and the only thing I miss from that is the PPV wrestling. Even obscure little gems like Atletico Partick are now on youtube to watch. (Can’t link, sorry – at work)

  22. Who, in this day and age, actually needs tv stations?

    I cancelled my Foxtel subscription 12 years ago and the only thing I miss from that is the PPV wrestling. Even obscure little gems like Atletico Partick are now on youtube to watch. (Can’t link, sorry – at work)

    As is the whole, unmissable, first series of Are You Being Served? We watched this one rainy afternoon and howled with laughter.

    Plus it was a useful social history lesson for the ManChild – ‘Yes darling, things really were that shoddy and expensive and hopeless in the UK before Mrs Thatcher. And look at the pompous and lazy shop steward – what a dickhead’, etc.

  23. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    I see that stalin’s butt-boy Numbers the coardly racist bigot is whining about how much more popular The Bolt Report is that they leftist sewage endlessly repeated on the Australian Bolshevik Collective.

    Dry your eyes and change your soiled underwear, princess.

  24. Nonetheless, Joe Lyons, being a Catholic and thinking in centuries, still made sure that the ABC got going, just in case there was something in Lang’s ravings.

    I forgot to mention Lyons’ involvement with the 1930s covert and highly secret campaign of papal aggression, in which the Pope planned to split world government 50-50 with the Bavarian Illuminati. Documents pertaining to this are in the secret Vatican archives, but no one is allowed to see them, and anyway they were destroyed. But they must have existed once. I just know it.

    But anyway, that’s what the ABC was set up to combat, back in 1932 – the evil forces of Andrew Bolt.

  25. Rabz

    Who, in this day and age, actually needs tv stations?

    Nilk – sports fanatics, such as myself.

  26. Bill Thompson

    Here’s one of my efforts to bring some accountability to ‘our ABC’… but Jon Faine argued the toss! Tim Wilson – in pre-Human Rights Commission days – was on my side!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpJH4M7Yp_4

  27. Bruce of Newcastle

    Who, in this day and age, actually needs tv stations?

    Shoppers. I fired up my new TV after the old one died and set the auto channel detection going.

    There were at least 5 shopping channels which I never knew existed. So that’s why the analogue signal got turned off. Epiphany!

    Next thing I found in the manual was how to delete channels. Bye bye shopping networks. I wimped out though and kept the ABC.

  28. MemoryVault

    Who, in this day and age, actually needs tv stations?

    If you instal adblock plus for your browser of choice (very important), then google or bing “tubeplus”, you can watch pretty-much anything that has ever been on free-to-air, public or pay TV, cable, Foxtel, Skye etc., advert-free.

    So far I’ve worked my way through most of the Poirot series (only a couple of early episodes missing), and the complete Midsomer Murders series. I previously enjoyed Monarch of the Glen, and now I’m watching Warehouse 13. Also following advert-free episodes of Da Vinci’s Demons, Elementary, Vikings, Agents of Shield, Tomorrow People, and Grimm. Looking forward to the season return of Sherlock, Blacklist, the Musketeers, and Defiance, amongst others.

    Lots of kids shows, plus movies too. Who said retirement was boring?

  29. Toiling Mass

    We’ve watched three seasons of My Little Pony on youtube commercial free with no problems.

    This version is better.

  30. rickw

    ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

    Get off the public teat and sell itself.

  31. MemoryVault

    ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

    Don’t know, but mass Seppuku by the entire ABC staff would make a great finale.
    Led by “Their Minister” out front and centre.

  32. Ant

    Nick

    You’re piggy footing around.

    The ABC at its highest level is a propaganda arm for the Left; be it the ALP, the Greens or whatever other idiot leftist misfit cause is going.

    So I fail to see how making commercially related arguments as part of a campaign to correct their leftist bias is going to do any good.

    Imagine how a Labor government would deal with them if the situation was reversed.

    The ABC needs to be given an ultimatum: Fix the bias or persist with betraying taxpayers and ignoring your charter and face the axe.

  33. Chris M

    As Hammy hasn’t showed up yet I might as well throw it out there…. isn’t the ABC being insensitive to Moslems repeatedly showing Peppa Pig?

    I get the feminist appeal (the father pig is always made to look stupid and useless) but it does seem ABC could be Islamophobic…

  34. Infidel Tiger

    ‘what job do we expect the ABC to do?’

    If they broadcast the test pattern and white noise for the next century I’ll be happy.

  35. Tom

    I notice Bolt has picked up that Abbott was verballed in the “promises” the Fucktard Media Industrial Complex claim he made about not touching the ABC’s budget. His “promise” was simply quoting Hockey, who has maintained that, if there is waste at the ABC, it will be cut.

  36. Des Deskperson

    “… isn’t the ABC being insensitive to Moslems repeatedly showing Peppa Pig?”

    I doubt if any Moslems watch the ABC, apart from Waheed Aly. On the other hand, I was at the ACT Public Library – Woden Branch – recently where on Wednesdays they put on ‘Storytime’ for 3 to 5 year olds, kids books usually read aloud, and highly dramatized, by library staffers. It attracts a fairly ‘diverse’ crowed, including several Moslem mums and their kids.

    This particular week they read out The Three Little Pigs. I fully expected the Muzzies to storm out, but instead they and their kids stayed and laughed along with everyone else at the antics of the pigs and the wolf.

  37. Tapdog

    Interesting to hear ABC spokesman Andrew West acknowledge during last night’s panel discussion that ABC journos do indeed have a predominantly left wing liberal predisposition-a point that Paul Kelly was quick to pick up on and re state.

    I never could understand why so many of his ABC colleagues continue to deny it.

  38. Chistery

    First Piers Ackerman and now Nick Cater. Okay, I am going to have to defend Peppa Pig now because it is my daughters favourite show. And having watched just about every 5 min episode, too, it is one of the few watchable kids shows with the occasional adult humour to go over the head of a 3 year old. (And no, Piers, Peppa does not “push a weird feminist line”)

    Secondly, the ABC for Kids channel is the only decent thing the ABC does so I’d take out ABC24, Q&A and bunch of other biased dross before hitting the kiddies shows.

    The comment about Peppa being broadcast on a UK commercial network is not entirely true as proven here. In fact, Peppa is purchased from the BBC and the ABC is a little miffed at the moment about the BBC selling content (except Peppa) to Foxtel.

    The issue also with Peppa quilt is a little anti capitalist, too. The retail outlets actually generate an income for the ABC so the tax payer is slugged slightly less. So it is good if they can sell the merchandising associated with the programs they air.

    Yes I have rambled a bit. So in summary, lay off Peppa Pig!

  39. JohnA

    At best you could argue the ALPBC should retain a rural radio network and one or two specialist capital city radio stations.

    Not even that.

    We just need a maintenance operation to keep some repeaters going, so that one or more signals can reach the rural and outback populations. Maybe a couple of satellite channels could do it. Anyone who wants to send a signal pays a cost per GByte transmitted.

  40. MemoryVault

    We just need a maintenance operation to keep some repeaters going . . .

    The National Broadcaster, the ABC, doesn’t actually own any broadcasting equipment anymore.
    All that difficult, complex, scientifically stuff is now subcontracted out – to private enterprise.

    There’s a great joke in there somewhere.

  41. This particular week they read out The Three Little Pigs. I fully expected the Muzzies to storm out, but instead they and their kids stayed and laughed along with everyone else at the antics of the pigs and the wolf.

    Clearly they are in dire need of consciousness-raising. How dare they enjoy themselves.

  42. john constantine

    While the more experienced presenter of a victorian rural abc radio program was on one of ‘their abc well earned breaks’, a young presenter filled in.

    The young presenter actually still had some journalists instincts,not long enouigh at the abc to be completely indoctrinated yet.

    The next story was about activists that had mutilated themselves,to raise public awareness of the cause.The young announcer declared that she was aware that self-mutilation was probably a dangerous thing to praise and push as an example of a good thing to emotionally vunerable people in the community.

    The abc staff room, however had informed the young presenter that it was the abc’s role to support activists in their actions “to do so much good”. Self mutilation for the cause was presented as a thing that gets attention and praise from their very own abc.

    So there we have the abc staff room view of the abc mission. to support activists, right or wrong, good bad or indifferent. Self mutilating,or simply destroying others property and right to quietly go about their business…..abc life values in action.

  43. boy on a bike

    The comment about Peppa being broadcast on a UK commercial network is not entirely true as proven here. In fact, Peppa is purchased from the BBC and the ABC is a little miffed at the moment about the BBC selling content (except Peppa) to Foxtel.

    Bollocks.

    How Peppa Pig brought home the bacon

    Read the whole story at the FT.

    Once upon a time there were three blokes called Nev, Mark and Phil, And they were mates. And they loved drawing cartoons. One day, they had a great idea for a children’s television cartoon, and they took it to the Big Bad Wolf, the BBC. But the Big Bad Wolf, he huffed and he puffed and he blew the idea all around the schedule, playing it at midnight one day and mid-afternoon a week later. And in the end, the Wolf blew the programme away. So the three blokes thought, “We will dream up another idea, but this time we will not give it to the Wolf. We will let someone else have our programme.”

    So Nev, Mark and Phil took their idea to Channel Five and America and 180 other countries. Their programme is now worth many hundreds of millions of pounds, and the spin-off merchandising is worth many millions of pounds more. And the silly old Wolf is full of regrets and now calls it “The one that got away”.

    Having cast their star, the lads decided that the one outlet they would not approach was the BBC. First, because of the Big Knights experience – they didn’t trust the BBC to give their new show a regular slot. And second, because of the gloomy atmosphere of almost every meeting they had had at the BBC. “It is very negative in its approach to pitches; the commissioners just put up problems and reasons why the idea should not be commissioned, rather than the other way round.” And finally, they wanted to keep their product independent: for artistic reasons, naturally, but for business reasons too. These blokes may like guitars, faded T-shirts, permatans and Converse boots, but they are a commercially canny trio. They knew that the value of children’s cartoons resided not only in the show, but in the licensed spin-offs. And if your programme is going out on the BBC, then you can be sure that BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the broadcaster, will want a slice of the pie.

  44. Burke & Wills

    I have to disagree with your opening comment Nick. I think the ABC has a damn good handle 0n it’s identity. From the Board all the way down, they are the Ultimo Branch of the ALP with a preference for the colour Green.
    I totally agree however, it is unnerved by its critics. Takes a long time, if ever, to change the culture of Socialism, especially one on the taxpayer’s teat, to recognise it is a failure & no longer relevant.
    ” Where’s the public purpose in using public money to fatten up this cheeky little grunter? ” One can rightly ask. Voters are unaware of the ABC trough & how much these little piggies do consume without ever worrying about the “need to go to market”.
    Mr Hockey. You are the hope of the side. You will disappoint if in May you don’t huff, puff & blow their house down.

  45. MemoryVault

    Mr Hockey. You are the hope of the side.

    So, we’re still up Shit Creek without a paddle then?

  46. john constantine

    Rural victorian abc radio has been focus testing the overworked underpaid abc meme for a while. It is hard to believe how so much can be done by so few for so little,by their own admission,they are ashamed to be have be cutting journalism services to rural victoria because of underfunding.

    they only have to read all the animal activist press releases word for word,because the abc doesn’t have the money to make their own content.

    the abc has to have the presenter of the next program ‘drop in for a chat’ during the current program,to fill in a few minutes of the hour with cheap chat content. announcing who the presenter is,and what program is going to air fills in another few minutes an hour.

    walking away from journalism,preferring to ‘have a conversation about raising awareness of the cause’. This is the core value of the abc staffroom. Once the staff could set their own standards,once the staff could set their own performance levels,once the staff could declare their jobs ‘jobs for life’, the bucket of money was ruptured, each staff member a drain for as much as they could get.

    rorts aren’t rorts,if everybody is doing it. Wait for abc staff demanding stress leave and disability, because their hate for tony abbott has ruined their health.

  47. Chistery

    Boy on a bike,
    The article you referenced is nearly 4 years old. Today, the BBC not only broadcast Peppa Pig, they distribute it.

  48. boy on a bike

    eOne is the distributor.

  49. Ironing Mike

    It’s a shame they cost us so much. I actually see some value in having a public reminder of leftism’s intellectual bankruptcy. And they’re entertaining in their own way, always banging their heads on the windchimes and tripping over their sandals.

  50. egg_

    ‘The Roast” seems to be picking up the Chaser “boys” cudgels on attacking AbbottMonster666 re Climate, Tassie forests &c.

  51. egg_

    ‘The Roast” seems to be picking up the Chaser “boys” cudgels on attacking AbbottMonster666 re Climate, Tassie forests &c.

    But especially the right to be a ‘bigot’.
    Strangely, Aunty has her token multiculti journos, but none promoted to positions of any particular merit or power.
    Talk-the-talk but not walk-the-walk, eh Aunty?

  52. egg_

    We just need a maintenance operation to keep some repeaters going . . .

    The National Broadcaster, the ABC, doesn’t actually own any broadcasting equipment anymore.
    All that difficult, complex, scientifically stuff is now subcontracted out – to private enterprise.

    Yup, subbed out back in ’98.

    Ironically, TVNZ run the network, administered by WIN TV.
    Technicolor have run their playout centre since 2010.

Comments are closed.