The ABC is a bargain

Today we read in The Australian:

“Back in 1987, your ABC famously cost each Australian eight cents a day. In 1987 dollar terms we now cost each Australian just four cents a day. In other words, our per-capita funding has halved in real terms,” Louise Higgins, ABC chief financial officer, told the first ABC annual public meeting.

Hmmmmmmmm. In nominal terms the ABC now costs us about 14c per day. In an analysis showing a willingness to pay comparison between the ABC and Foxtel, QUT academics Brian McNair and Adam Swift asked this question:

But who can seriously maintain, given around 2.5 million Australians pay nearly hundreds of dollars a year to Foxtel, that 14 cents a day for the ABC’s content is excessive?

When stated in those terms it seems almost churlish to resent being deprived of 14 cents per day to pay for the ABC. Yet this question itself is not the most obvious question to ask. Surely a far more interesting question to ask – and perhaps answer – is why do millions of Australians choose to pay hundreds of dollars per year to watch television when the ABC provides those services – and apparently more – for a mere 14 cents per day?

Answers coming soon.

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69 Responses to The ABC is a bargain

  1. Atoms for Peace

    Thats about 25 sheets of toilet paper. A more fitting comparison imo.

  2. Tel

    But who can seriously maintain, given around 2.5 million Australians pay nearly hundreds of dollars a year to Foxtel, that 14 cents a day for the ABC’s content is excessive?

    Fundamentally dishonest to compare a day price with a year price. 14c a day is $51 per year.

    Also fundamentally dishonest to ignore the people who are paying for the ABC but either never watch or hardly ever watch.

  3. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    alos fundamentally dishonest as nearly half pay no tax anyway, so the other half pay over $100/yr which is not that far from netflix. why do I have to pay for ABC when I pay for netflix?

  4. Habib

    Churlish or not, I deeply begrudge every single cent stolen from me and my efforts to support any of these worthless state edifices. The ABC is just the most egregious and openly insulting of them.

    If as they continually claim it’s so cheap and highly valued, make it a subscription service, freeing it from the yoke of parsimonious government budgetary restrictions and any whiff of editorial interference. It’d be coining it in, could probably buy Fox.

    Of course once the drugs wear off, it’d close quicker than an Anthony Lowenstein musical.

  5. Chris

    My household share – 8.8M households, half of whom pay tax – is $227 per annum. I am the taxpayer, supporting a family.

    Paying hundreds is no 17c.

  6. Bruce of Newcastle

    Through the propaganda the ABC continually spews the cost is magnified. So for example the lack of fiscal discipline can be slated home to leftist politics, which are promulgated by the ABC. If we did not have the indoctrination by the ABC we might have a balanced budget.

    Therefore the ABC helps to cost us $2,000 per man woman and child in Australia, being the annual Federal deficit.

    You can add more from the crazy electricity prices the ABC causes us to have to pay, the inflated welfare costs coming out of our taxes, the stupid climate crap they go on and on about and the law enforcement costs their immigration ideology has been costing us.

  7. Tintarella di Luna

    Bruce of Newcastle
    #2632336, posted on February 9, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Excellent summary

  8. Tintarella di Luna

    I think 14 cents is too much and the place should be shut down, the earth salted and then we can begin the repair of our nation.

  9. Chris

    I think 14 cents is too much and the place should be shut down, the earth salted

    I do not favour salting the earth. Emulsifying the leftists and using them to fertilise the tree of liberty would be a program we might be able to get behind.

  10. Infidel Tiger 2.0 (Premium Content Subscribers Only)

    I’ve got foxtel, Netflix, private health and send my kids to private school.

    I must be mad.

  11. John Constantine

    Like being forced to pay fifty buck for a meal of warm light ice beer, raw chopped kale, soaked quinoa all sprinkled with organic tofu, as waleed ali and his golden calf band play the extended 40 minute version of Stairway to Heaven as entertainment. Their sarah hanson young and fran Kelly dancing as go-go girls.

    Walking out without paying a tip and going next door to a single malt whisky bar, where the Rolling Stones are playing an intimate gig overlooking an internal courtyard, where cloned dinosaurs are being livefed godless commo hippie activists on a regular basis.

    Who cares what they charge, life is too short to waste on their abc crap.

  12. Empire GTHO Phase III

    Pay TV is discretionary spending.

    Let’s see what happens when you short change the ATO to the tune of 14c x 365 and that assumes flat tax.

    Anyone who proffers the argument that public broadcasting as it stands is good value is either a communist or a carpet-bagger.

  13. Chris

    BoN, very true.
    Also the erosion of decent values for virtue signalling is not paid in dollars.

  14. Habib

    One thing in the ABC’s favour though is that they have their own helicopter, which can be used to hurl staff from.

  15. DM OF WA

    The cost of the ABC to taxpayers is one issue but it is not the central one. The central issue is relevance. The ABC was a public service for broadcasting information and entertainment created for a bygone age. Technology progress has rendered it obsolete. Such a government service would never be created today (one hopes). The ABC is a classic example of institutional capture. It does not exist for the benefit of taxpayers; its continuing existence is for the benefit of its employees.

    SHUT.IT.DOWN
    BLOW.IT.UP

  16. Zatara

    “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”

    – Robert Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

  17. jupes

    Like being forced to pay fifty buck for a meal of warm light ice beer, raw chopped kale, soaked quinoa all sprinkled with organic tofu, as waleed ali and his golden calf band play the extended 40 minute version of Stairway to Heaven as entertainment. Their sarah hanson young and fran Kelly dancing as go-go girls.

    Walking out without paying a tip and going next door to a single malt whisky bar, where the Rolling Stones are playing an intimate gig overlooking an internal courtyard, where cloned dinosaurs are being livefed godless commo hippie activists on a regular basis.

    Who cares what they charge, life is too short to waste on their abc crap.

    LOL. Brilliant summary.

  18. Chris

    cloned dinosaurs are being livefed godless commo hippie activists on a regular basis.

    As usual, JC hits the nail on the head. But

  19. Turtle of WA

    Shut it down. Sack them all.

  20. Tel

    Anyone who proffers the argument that public broadcasting as it stands is good value is either a communist or a carpet-bagger.

    Well it’s obviously good value to some people.

    On the other hand, it’s a waste of money to others, and the political activism is strongly slanted towards the “Progressive” causes.

    There is no meaningful global metric of “good value”, which is entirely based on personal preference.

  21. struth

    So completely dishonest.
    How many actual taxpayers are there in Australia, remember this doesn’t count anyone in the PS or anyone in the private sector who has a contract with government.
    Take kids and pensioners out of the equation and you’ve got probably less than a million paying for everything.

  22. Zatara

    “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”

    – Thomas Jefferson

  23. Up The Workers!

    Just as legendary A.L.P. numbers genius Wayne Swan could never tell the difference between a surplus and a deficit, it seems that the A.L.P.’s propaganda orifice cannot tell the difference between the INPUT and the OUTPUT of its fact-phobic sheltered workshop operation .

    The A.L.P.B.C. costs Australian taxpayers BILLIONS of dollars per year, but puts out an optimistic alleged 4 cents worth of value per day – after all, if you are daily guessing the weather across a landmass as big as ours, you are bound to occasionally fluke it for the right temperature somewhere.

    There.

    Fixed!

  24. manalive

    Apparently the less we pay them in their terms the better they get, so if we pay them nothing they will be as good as they will ever be.

  25. cohenite

    The real cost of the abc:

    http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/can-australia-afford-abc.html

    The abc advocates many left policies which cost Australia, 10s of billions such as alarmism, renewables, the black-armband view of aboriginals, muslim immigration, the greens generally. These cost much more than the nominal cost of $1 billion PA.

  26. Dr Faustus

    But who can seriously maintain, given around 2.5 million Australians pay nearly hundreds of dollars a year to Foxtel, that 14 cents a day for the ABC’s content is excessive?

    On a like-for-like basis: ABC annual cost = $1.1 billion; ABC audience reach = 5.5 million*;
    cost per viewer/listener/consumer = $200

    * annual report.

  27. JC

    They really think everyone’s an idiot like their left wing audience. This x cents per day is so misleading they ought to be reported.

    The ABC costs Australians just four cents a day in real terms due to funding declines since the 1980s, the corporation revealed today as it launched a major new marketing campaign and released strategy documents to herald a new era of openness.

    Despite receiving $1 billion in annual public funding, the national broadcaster’s budget declined 28 per cent in real terms over three decades.

    “Back in 1987, your ABC famously cost each Australian eight cents a day. In 1987 dollar terms we now cost each Australian just four cents a day. In other words, our per-capita funding has halved in real terms,” Louise Higgins, ABC chief financial officer, told the first ABC annual public meeting.

    The Australian population in 1987 was 16.3 million. It now 24 million. In other words 50% higher. You don’t need to be spending the same per head for broadcasting.

    So dishonest.

    More importantly, if the ABC is so great then why a people buying Foxtel, Netflix, Stan etc?

  28. Chris

    Dear Julie Bishop (my local MHR),
    The ABC’s pathetic claim that it is very cheap on a per capita basis ignore the fact that net taxpayers are a rare breed, and ABC viewer beneficiaries even rarer.

    There are 24M Australians, who the ABC are pleased to claim benefit from their self-indulgent output. In very broad terms the ABC gets about 9%-12% of the media market, each regular listener therefore costs taxpayers $415 per year.

    As the breadwinner of one of 8.8M Australian households, roughly half of whom are net taxpayers and supporting a family, my share of the ABC’s self-indulgent expenditure is perhaps $227 per year.

    But my share of cost for Government debt and completely pointless environmental regulation and energy cost wastage on issues that the Government is locked into by political correctness is perhaps $6000 per year.
    Alternative opinions are struggling to be heard, such as questioning the benefit-cost of envirnmental efforts, yet are strangled by subsidised near-monopoly.

    Could you please find out for me why my family must be deprived, the Australian economy cannibalised, and the public debate impoverished to fund the egos of the ABC staff and their fellow travellers in the academic and public service sectors?

    All the best at the next election,
    Chris

  29. Boambee John

    Tel at 1541

    Fundamentally dishonest to compare a day price with a year price. 14c a day is $51 per year.

    Also fundamentally dishonest to ignore the people who are paying for the ABC but either never watch or hardly ever watch.

    All words except “fundamentally dishonest” in those sentences are superfluous.

  30. Boambee John

    Perhaps Their ABC might propose to become a subscription service.

    At a dollar a week, they should be able to steal all Foxtel and Netflix customers.

  31. Boambee John

    Habib at 1545

    Hadn’t scrolled down, sorry!

  32. Peter

    I cannot help but wonder, if when calculating those per capita costs of the ABC they have taken into account the ABC’s falling number of listeners and watchers. My bet is that they have not and when adjustments are made for this, the actual real per capita cost (based on people who use the service) is much, much higher. If you disbelieve me that this is so then Google “ABC falling audience share”. But here is a sampler for you:

    http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/their-abc-viewers-turned-off-aunty-in-2014/news-story/2b076bf07aec37ba6b84fa149c836721

    https://mumbrella.com.au/abc-news-guardian-record-big-drops-digital-audiences-across-december-494917

    I have long held that the answer to ABC’s lack of respect for its Charter is easily dealt with. Make them get a significant proportion of their funding from commercial sources. Only have the government pay for the “community service” component of its functions and force ABC to seek commercial funds for the rest. They will soon learn that willingness to ignore their audience involves a real cost.

    As for me. Commercial TV is childish rubbish. And ABC is adolescent, left wing rubbish. I just turn off.

  33. Texas Jack

    What cost a treasonous murder of crows who seek to distort truth, disrupt what works, and demean lifters?

  34. Norman Church

    Apparently there is a forum where the value of a service relative to its price gets to be tested. It’s call the market place.

    Like others, I favour the ALPBC being privatised. However, if that objective is a bridge too far, making the ALPBC a subscription service will allow its true level of support to be amply demonstrated. Particularly amongst the sizeable section of the public that make no net contribution to the funding of the ALPBC whatsoever.

    I know, I know – I should not be labelling the ABC the ALPBC. It’s plainly not true that all ABC staff and employees are ALP supporters. In fact, a sizeable majority support the Greens.

  35. Norman Church

    Bugger. Fat fingers. “Called” not “call” in first line of post.

  36. egg_

    My household share – 8.8M households, half of whom pay tax – is $227 per annum. I am the taxpayer, supporting a family.

    Paying hundreds is no 17c.

    Yup, the ABC’s bulldust numbers have been done to death on this blog and elsewhere.

    The taxpayer is funding this behemoth to the tune of hundreds per annum each – the equivalent of a PayTV subscription, to fund the Green-Left’s extreme media agenda, if Q&A is a showcase of Aunty’s “values” – the show ain’t over til the fat freak sings?

  37. egg_

    If as they continually claim it’s so cheap and highly valued, make it a subscription service,

    Merge it with SBS and run ads* and be done with them.

    *The Trivago/AAMI/Ford/Toyota gals on high rotation, just for the Frightbats.

  38. egg_

    “This presentation of Q&A with Snowcone is brought to you by Bungcreme – treatment for genital warts”.

  39. Squirrel

    It doesn’t really matter how many cents per day it is – what is the opportunity cost?

    For those who like to see the government spending (other people’s, mainly) money to solve the world’s problems, the annual funding provided to the ABC could surely do a lot more, of a practical nature, to add to the sum total of human happiness than it does right now – even if a small, disciplined, soberly focused, residual national broadcaster was retained.

    For those who tend not to believe the “she’ll be right” out year projections for the federal Budget, and the blithe assumption of our econocrats that we shall always be masters of our own fate as to public sector borrowing costs, the funding provided to the ABC could be used to reduce annual deficits and cumulative public sector debt.

  40. Roger

    If as they continually claim it’s so cheap and highly valued, make it a subscription service,

    As with so much else in contemporary Australia the rot started with Gough Whitlam, who in 1974 abolished the TV licence which previously funded the ABC and switched to government grants as a method of funding.

    So, bring back the TV licence on an opt in basis for those who desire the ABC, SBS & NIV. Said broadcasters would then have to trim their cloth to match what their consumers are willing to pay and they’d be off the goverment teet.

    Those organisations would then have to trim their cloth to what their

  41. Roger

    NITV, that should be – National Indigenous TV, which features a lot of programs on Inuit eskimos and Plains Indians and the like, for some reason.

  42. Dr Fred Lenin

    Funny set up this alpbc scam ,the huge majority of the people who pay for it don’t listen to it or watch its tv branch. If it is so successfull,privatise it ,float it on the ASX ,then pay all present employees entitlements in shares in the new private company ,the new company can lease offices. Studios and equipment from the people .as we actually paid for it . Be interesting to watch the shares in it. Snowcone and vitrioli etc would live an interesting life in this scenario,be more like a real life ,you know like we live .

  43. egg_

    NITV, that should be – National Indigenous TV, which features a lot of programs on Inuit eskimos and Plains Indians and the like, for some reason.

    And Maoris – any dark skinned indigines will do!

  44. egg_

    Funny set up this alpbc scam ,the huge majority of the people who pay for it don’t listen to it or watch its tv branch.

    Nailed it.
    Tax payers willing pay to watch private meeja such as teh intarweb and PayTV services.

  45. Empire

    where cloned dinosaurs are being livefed godless commo hippie activists on a regular basis.

    Creative thinking at its finest. Just brilliant.

  46. Roger

    And Maoris – any dark skinned indigines will do!

    They had a show which used to feature some Maori gents in NZ fishing – non-traditional! – in various spots which was not bad.

    But then I wouldn’t pay to watch it.

  47. Robber Baron

    14 cents per day…less than half a cent per hour…practically free!

    As an unwilling contributor to the ABCs existence, and as someone that watched about an hour last year, it cost me 50 dollars…expensive!

  48. thefrolickingmole

    I think they should also add on the cost of shutting down the Indonesian cattle industry for a year, the franklin dam, various coal & gas projects etc to the costs of having the ABC.

    Would be the most economically destructive organisation in Australia by miles.

  49. The Pugilist

    I wonder if the pricks factored in the costs of the lost livelihoods from shutting down our live exports and the greyhound industry? Cnuts

  50. overburdened

    I don’t watch FTA television, other than when MMA in its various forms are on, which isn’t often, and when I can stay awake.
    I don’t subscribe to anything and rely on my information from what people tell me and what I see for myself.
    I buy the Ozzie because it has the best puzzles and I like the newspaper format.
    That is because I am old.
    I never intended to be old but hey.
    I ignore the news section out of hand other than the opinions/ comments 2 pages.
    This is the only place I engage on line.
    Keen for advice on how to be more socially connected.
    2 rules
    no lefties
    no fat chicks

  51. overburdened

    can I have my money back too?

  52. Mundi

    If it’s so cheap and good value, open it up to the market.

    At best 1 on 20 people regularly watch ABC.

  53. BorisG

    On a like-for-like basis: ABC annual cost = $1.1 billion; ABC audience reach = 5.5 million*;
    cost per viewer/listener/consumer = $200

    actually per household it is around $500, so per tax paying household about $1000. That is a lot more expensive than any Foxtel.

  54. A Lurker

    Surely a far more interesting question to ask – and perhaps answer – is why do millions of Australians choose to pay hundreds of dollars per year to watch television when the ABC provides those services – and apparently more – for a mere 14 cents per day?

    The operative word is ‘CHOOSE’. Millions of Australians choose to pay for Foxtel.
    Many more millions of Australians have no choice about their compulsory funding of the ABC.

    I would have thought that a so-called Libertarian would be against State compulsion of any kind.
    I would have thought that a co-called Libertarian would be against a State-controlled media corporation.

  55. Shy Ted

    Plenty of good stuff on their ABC. But none of it is Australian content.

  56. Empire GTHO Phase III

    I would have thought that a so-called Libertarian would be against State compulsion of any kind.
    I would have thought that a co-called Libertarian would be against a State-controlled media corporation.

    Major comprehension fail. Hit the pause button on your libertarian derangement syndrome and try again.

  57. Sinclair Davidson

    The other thing to note is that “ABC audience reach” overstates their actual viewership.

  58. Sinclair Davidson

    A Lurker – you are being silly.

  59. yarpos

    I am a regular watcher of the ABC.

    I do so to see if they have gotten any stupider and more rabid. I am rareley disappointed.

    The one thing they do have going for them is that they are not quite as stupid and rabid as SBS, although that is not really much of an achievement.

  60. egg_

    no lefties
    no fat chicks

    Entertainment?
    We’ll have none of that at Aunty, thank you!
    It’s now become the fat chick workshop – Play School will probably be hosted by a blimp in a boilersuit.

  61. Same question and answer applies to why parents pay shitloads on fees for private schooling for their children, which fees are not tax deductible any longer, when they’re already paying for the rooly rooly excellent public schools in their taxation??

  62. DM OF WA

    In a way the ABC resembles the BBC and NHS in the UK. All were created long ago to provide public services and over time they have become so entrenched that citizens just accept their continuing existence and cannot imagine a world without them. The only way to get rid of such institutions is to hope for a profound national financial crisis which forces politians to defund them because there is literally no money left to pay for them. It is sad that political inertia on the one hand combined with special interests on the other ensures the continuation of inefficiency and waste.

  63. Kneel

    “I don’t watch FTA television, …”

    Not missing much.
    However, if you have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, or Google Video services, and most especially if you have a geo-unblocker (ie, a USA Netflix account), then a Roku (from Amazon, about $60 inc freight) not only lets you connect to all the above services, it also gives you access to plenty of live streams and on-demand content, some free some paid.
    Pluto TV (kind of like Foxtel – many channels, all live, plus on-demand streams) has RT America, which, while obviously having a Russian-centric view on terms of actual “news” (actually IMO the best international news service I have seen in a long time, they normally don’t talk over footage except for translations, for example), has a lot of right as well as left leaning shows. Larry King, Jessie Ventura, Lee Camp and Max Kieser for example, all have a show and all the shows are VERY different in terms of content: respectively in-depth serious; left serious; left comedy (very good!) and right comedy (at least, I hope comedy – if not, he’s truly a fruitloop!) But it’s the news that is worth it – allowing for the geographical bias inherent in any state funded broadcaster, and suitable scepticism about political bias too, it’s really good to see “the other side” – such as Russia asking re: the Syria “If the job is done, why hasn’t America pulled out it’s troops like we did?”. You don’t see that on western MSM and it’s a shame because that is the sort of pertinent question that the media SHOULD be asking – at least, if they want the sort of respect the think they deserve.

    Best $60 I ever spent – much better value than 240 days of the ALPBC, that’s for sure!

  64. Empire GTHO Phase III

    Kneel
    #2633385, posted on February 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm
    “I don’t watch FTA television, …”

    Amen, brother.

    “We the sheeple..”

  65. Baldrick

    TheirABC is an absolute joke. They can’t even do simple mathematics:

    Sally Jackson ✔ @Sally_Jackson
    In 1987 the ABC cost each Australian 8 cents a day — now it’s 4 cents a day, says ABC Chief Financial Officer Louise Higgins.

  66. cynical1

    The ABC is a sheltered workshop for urban green voting twats.

    I am looking at you J. Green as an example.

    Can anyone name one right of centre prime time presenter?

    I live in hope that rocket boy takes it out with a test flight.

    I’d even give him co-ordinates.

  67. Walter Plinge

    Apart from the depth and breadth of programming and the convenience I pay $2000 a year to Foxtel to get programs that start and finished exactly on the advertised times.

  68. Tom

    Aside from the fact that the ABC treats its audience like idiots and bombards them 24/7 with Greens Party-approved talking points presented as “news”, a private contractor like Sky News could produce the same TV and radio content for around $250 million a year. The other $750 million we’re robbed of for the ABC covers not only the cost of the fat cat talking heads, but also lavish benefits not available outside the public service and a bureaucratic wall that prevents complaints and effective scrutiny from derailing the gravy train.

    Privatise it and make the staff sink or swim on the value they provide to the market, like everyone else in the media industry.

  69. Sinclair Davidson

    Privatise it and make the staff sink or swim on the value they provide to the market, like everyone else in the media industry.

    Watch this space.

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