What they said: PVO on selling the ABC

THE ABC should be privatised to save the taxpayer the more than $1 billion it costs each year to run, to reap a one-off injection of revenue from the sale price to help retire government debt, and to remove a government-funded goliath that is interfering with the market in the media landscape.

It is hard to justify the ABC continuing not to run commercials, even if it did remain in state hands, because doing so would help recoup the taxpayers’ dollars that go into the service. The 2012-13 budget stipulated that the ABC would cost $1.1bn to run this financial year. Dwell on that amount. That money would go a long way towards funding the DisabilityCare Australia scheme or the Gonski education reforms.

Besides, SBS already runs advertisements.

PVO in 2013

PVO on the weekend

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64 Responses to What they said: PVO on selling the ABC

  1. I’m no economist, but I think putting ads on the ABC is different to selling it.

  2. Baldrick

    I like this bit from the comments on PVO’s twitter feed:

    Tim Cahill FC @RohanCT
    (Replying to @vanOnselenP)
    Polling indicates partially selling it off is very popular
    ______
    Peter van Onselen ✔ @vanOnselenP
    So is abolishing income taxes. Doesn’t mean it’s not stupid

    What a goose.

  3. Sinclair Davidson

    I’m no economist

    Yes. We know.

  4. egg_

    Peter van Onselen ✔ @vanOnselenP
    So is abolishing income taxes. Doesn’t mean it’s not stupid

    Perfesser Panasonic Cornflakes.

  5. mh

    PVO suddenly DOES want a government-funded Goliath interfering in the market.

    I wonder what changed his mind?

  6. struth

    There is a certain level of thickness that is hard to read.
    Those twitter face book rants from dumb lefties is particularly hard.
    It is taxpayer funded green/government propaganda station, comrade, and must be shut down now.
    SALT THE EARTH.

  7. Baldrick

    PVO in 2013

    A billion good reasons to sell the broadcaster
    PETER VAN ONSELEN TheAustralian 12:00AM May 25, 2013
    THE ABC should be privatised to save the taxpayer the more than $1 billion it costs each year to run, to reap a one-off injection of revenue from the sale price to help retire government debt, and to remove a government-funded goliath that is interfering with the market in the media landscape.
    This final point is a key problem with the ABC as it now operates. It was formed as a state-owned broadcasting corporation, but in the newly converged media environment it operates as a virtual newspaper online, competes in the 24-hour news space (with pay-TV) and runs a host of other enterprises that are not based on broadcasting but that support its brand.

    In short, it has overstepped its raison d’etre.

    That would all be fine were the entity a private organisation subject to the same ownership rules that the rest of the media is. But as a state-owned entity, not subject to commercial pressures like its competitors (during a very difficult time for the media, incidentally), the ABC has become a media version of Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan.

    It has hastened the decline of the mainstream media by interfering in the market and it has contributed to the retreat from serious journalism that its free-to-air commercial broadcasting rivals have engaged in. A privatised ABC would help correct these worrying trends.

    Invariably, government-owned entities are less efficient than privately owned ones. That is because they can afford to be. A privatised ABC would save the taxpayer more than $1bn annually, it would inject revenue into government coffers from the sale and it would give commercial competitors a market incentive to raise their news standards to steal the (newly commercialised) ABC’s audience. And a privatised ABC would need to think about whether it operated as a broadcaster or an online newspaper.

    Done with appropriate legislation to protect the regions and to give the government the right to make emergency announcements, for example, a privatised ABC would improve journalism in this country.

  8. JC

    That’s Okay, Peter. If you think the market is overcrowded, lets just close it down and un-crowd the market.

  9. egg_

    If you think the market is overcrowded, lets just close it down and un-crowd the market.

    Particularly Fairfax’s online market being impacted, apparently.

  10. John Constantine

    Fashionable decolonialisation theory means dispensing with the racist follies of settler culture.

    Their left still hasn’t been able to process the fact that the protest marches and foaming and frothing eruptions in support of their abc are almost as whitebread as a greens parliamentary meeting.

    Trotting out waleed their golden calf of diversity, that fools nobody.

    Their western godless commo manifestos as preached by their abc are not the political systems that the mass imported voteherds have any intention of complying with.

    Once the population of yarragrad has doubled in their population ponzi, and the elderly abc types try and claim that they are more equal than all the other proles because of their struggles for the revolution as freedom fighters, it just will not work.

    Their abc has a future they themselves have doomed, in twenty years time it will attract funding as generously as stale pale public service pensions are funded by the new revolutionary council.

    Purge them, Comrades.

  11. Infidel Tiger

    PVO is the best example of why the ABC and all Australian universities should be shut down.

  12. C.L.

    Besides, SBS already runs advertisements.

    … and then there’s the SBS.
    What started out in the Fraser years as a radio/television system that would allow refos to watch Greek news and Arabic Sesame Street – leading them to love the Liberal Party (LOL) – has now transmogrified into a soft-porn and subtitles dog’s breakfast servicing not the foreign-born but self-loathing white leftists who like their brown people outraged and socialist.

    It costs taxpayers more than a quarter of a billion dollars per year.

    It too should be scrapped and sold.

  13. Squirrel

    Instead of running the white flag up the pole at the first whiff of social media grapeshot, a truly liberal government would take up the fight on this issue and have a vigorous public policy debate on options for dealing with any genuine “national interest” (whatever that may be in this policy area) or market failure problems that might arise from the disappearance of the ABC as currently funded.

    If the crunch issue is “what about people in rural and regional Australia”, surely an amount of money (much, much less than the current global appropriate for the ABC) could be made available for a fixed term contract – 3/4/5 years(?) and would be contestable – by existing or new networks. And if they want to keep the almond latte demographic happy, a small part of the savings could go to the SBS to do a bit more news or whatever.

  14. manalive

    Qantas, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Airports have been privatised, what’s so sacred to the Left about the ABC? (rhetorical).

  15. John Constantine

    Media in rural Australia cannot compete against the entrenched FREE media giant that is their abc.

    Why are the Nats base rural agrarian socialists?. Fairfax runs their local newspapers and their abc runs the radio and television. Only the recent satellite television and satellite internet have freed rural Australia from the godless commo indoctrination of the Revolution.

    Not that it is anything uplifting.

  16. .

    Well Peter, what would happen if the ABC was privatised?

  17. egg_

    Qantas, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Airports have been privatised

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation is also a Government Business Enterprise (GBE) ripe for privatisation.

  18. Biota

    Nothing said about running advertisements so that the annual funding can be reduced proportionately.

  19. .

    I can’t believe the obsolescence argument doesn’t get brought up more often.

    There are so many people my age and younger that just don’t own a TV – by Netflix, mobile Pay Tv access, YouTube, AppleTV or just chucking it out to read books (!) because free to air is awkward trash.

    There is no need for the ABC or SBS. They have been made obsolete by the proliferation of commercial networks, mobile apps, SMS, email and high speed broadband streaming & download services.

    You can get ample foreign language stuff and more porno than you could ever watch on the internet.

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    Put the abolishing to referendum ,simple , include questions on ,
    Islamic Migration ,
    African refugees,
    Energy subsidies ,
    Strict limitation of donations to political parties ,
    Introduction of a ban on more than one term in parliament for all MPS ,
    Substitution of missile force for submarines ,
    Removal of all power wind farms ,
    See how the comrades like them little apples .

  21. H B Bear

    Van Wrongselen always brings the laughs. He should stick to his knitting – bagging Abbott and waving pom poms for the vagina crew.

  22. Julian

    How do you sell something that loses $1 billion a year? Not sure who is running the catallaxy posts at the moment but you need to smarten up. There will be no proceeds from a sale. It would just need to be shut down.

  23. .

    Julian

    Private and equity and LBOs are based on underutilised assets having an upside if their ROI can be rehabilitated.

  24. egg_

    I can’t believe the obsolescence argument doesn’t get brought up more often.

    Hence, Tim Fizzer’s support.

  25. Texas Jack

    Sorry Sinclair, I haven’t managed to buy your book just yet, but daydreaming of a world free of the patently biased national broadcaster; perhaps a future Coalition Government could resolve to tackle a “provision of content” problem, as distinct from a “shutting the ABC” problem?

    1. Auction all current ABC/SBS content to commercial providers – those that don’t sell are shut.
    2. Enshrine as a minimum licensing requirement the free-to-air provision of 2×30 minute slots of commercial free news for all major commercial providers – to be shown between 0600-1000 Hrs and 1730-1930 Hrs seven days a week – the level playing field –
    3. Relay-broadcast all major city broadcasters content via the existing ABC network infrastructure to regional areas.
    4. Cut ABC/SBS on-line.

    None of this requires tears or hysterics.

  26. jock

    The alternative is to shut a lot of it down and keep certain parts alive. A budget of say100 to 200 is feasible. Thats a saving of over 5 bn over 5 yrars

  27. I reckon the Liberals know the old TV business model, as we old farts know it, is going the way of the Dodo, so messing with their ABC will win them no new voters.

  28. candy

    The ABC could just do Australian made sitcoms, dramas, documentaries, children’s shows. A big market for homegrown quality entertaining TV shows free of cultural preaching messages, Australian actors. Maybe re-run some previous top rating Aussie shows.

    But they need to be kept away from the news and current affairs, as they seem to consider it a platform for preaching climate change, anti religion, anti Trump, anti conservative messages and as well using abusive and bad language.
    I think Mark Scott ex CEO had them believing their job was to be activists, not presenting quality TV.

  29. anonandon

    I’m no economist, but I think putting ads on the ABC is different to selling it.

    Putting ads on will establish a revenue base from which a price can be determined. Without the ability to sell ads it is worth nothing.

  30. NB

    PVO and ‘overcrowded commercial media environment’:
    Maybe the market can work out what the ABC is worth to it. After all, the ABC does have some viewers, though I don’t suppose the soy and tofu advertising market is especially vibrant.
    Anyhow, I can’t imagine a national broadcaster with a billion dollar budget does not have some deleterious effect upon the private media’s bottom line. A carve up into the private domain would surely be able to help the bottom line of purchasers who did their sums correctly.

  31. Jannie

    Shutting it down or selling it might be just too hard for our political masters. But defunding it and asking it to pay for itself sounds a lot more reasonable, and may achieve the same outcome.

  32. .

    The alternative is to pull the plug like you do on a 19-year-old pooch…the poor bugger is past it and making a mess everywhere.

  33. Rob MW

    Do they even realise the impact doing so would have on an already overcrowded commercial media environment? And that’s the least stupid aspect of the idea…

    Do they even realise the impact doing so would have on an already overcrowded politically socialist media environment? And that’s the least stupid aspect of the idea…

    Fixed the oxymoron for young Pete, who seems to have succumbed to the dreaded fallacy of a rent-seeking tenured identity. There’s nothing commercial about the abundance left-wing rags Pete.

  34. Mother Lode

    Putting ads on will establish a revenue base from which a price can be determined

    One of the reasons the friends of the ABC loathe the idea of ads is that it more or less requires putting on programs that will attract an audience: dreaded and despised hoi polloi.

    Putting ads on would have the same effect as abolishing it.

  35. Nighthawk the Elder

    I’ve seen both here on the Cat and over on the MSM, arguments in the comments to give some concessions to selling off the ABC by keeping some services for regional and country areas either in government hands or imposing service obligations .

    No!. If it’s lefty biased crap for the town and the city then it’s also lefty biased crap for the regions and the bush. How many cow cockies do you think are really that interested in programs about gender fluidity?

    Emergency broadcaster? The commercial stations have proven for years now they are more than capable of delivering this service.

    With the roll out of NBN, that’s despite the napkin dreams of Kev from Queensland and his sidekick the red underpants man, the viewing options for all but the most remote settlements are now huge.

    Sell the lot. The ABC can compete for patronage just like every other provider.

  36. None

    Nice catch Baldrick. Just goes to show PVO Blows With the Wind.

  37. iainrussell

    PvO, our taxes at work. Makes me proud to be an Australian to know that we have such wonderful sheltered workshops for the feeble-minded.

  38. "The Law is an Ass."

    So PVO “blows with the wind ” The initials PVO always bring to mind an unfortunate body, now upgraded by Baldrick and None.

  39. EvilElvis

    How do you sell something that loses $1 billion a year? Not sure who is running the catallaxy posts at the moment but you need to smarten up. There will be no proceeds from a sale. It would just need to be shut down.

    Agreed. At a political and ideological level it needs demolitioning. Take the savings and run.

    At a financial level dots point makes sense, but, defund it and sell the infrastructure.

    At a stupidity level the libs again want the moon, have aimed for the moon and will spectacularly backpeddle to middle earth somewhere as the ridiculous, complex, left Twitter arguments shape the narrative, the plebs will lap it up.

    What’s needed is a long campaign, just shirts, caps and randomly placed signs popping up in high traffic areas with ‘RABZ19’. Let’s get the party started.

  40. Entropy

    .
    #2739700, posted on June 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm
    Well Peter, what would happen if the ABC was privatised

    He would lose his nice new job for starters. And of course, cats and dogs will start living together.

    I’ve seen both here on the Cat and over on the MSM, arguments in the comments to give some concessions to selling off the ABC by keeping some services for regional and country areas either in government hands or imposing service obligations .

    No!. If it’s lefty biased crap for the town and the city then it’s also lefty biased crap for the regions and the bush. How many cow cockies do you think are really that interested in programs about gender fluidity?

    Emergency broadcaster? The commercial stations have proven for years now they are more than capable of delivering this service.

    This is so. The country hour is an hour long whinge fest of stereotypes dressed up as news. Certain producers are “go to” hard luck story people for the media, yet if you knew the background you can’t help but despise journalists and their lack of curiousity even more. One woman regularly interviewed is a crook, but the way she is portrayed on country hour you would think a cruel, uncaring world was against them. Reading her submission to the banking royal commission with a knowledge of her background s particularly entertaining. Not in a good way.

    Human interest stories are almost always some sort of cottage industry tree changer mate of the journo, the ideal being one featured nationally a few weeks ago with this woman with less than 100 cows in Tasmania. Why was this on the country hour I wondered? Then as the story progressed I find out she is a lesbian. Seriously.

    And as far as emergency broadcasts go, the commercial sector does not provide them because the ABC does. Get rid of the ABC and hey presto, they will.

    What the ABC does is render regional news services unviable.

  41. mh

    When I think of Professor Peter van Onselen and then think of the staggering amount of money paid by foreign students to study in Australia, it does not make sense. So then you have to wonder if there is another reason for the massive spend by foreigners …. ah, yes, permanent residency visas.

  42. Snoopy

    the ideal being one featured nationally a few weeks ago with this woman with less than 100 cows in Tasmania. Why was this on the country hour I wondered? Then as the story progressed I find out she is a lesbian. Seriously

    So very ABC, but you have to admit it was good for a laugh.

  43. Egor

    You want some nausea, listen to Corman making grovelling pledges to never, ever sell Their ABC on Their ABC radio this morning.
    I guess Their audience is the Liblab’s voting demographic these days.

  44. herodotus

    Steyn on the new Italian government and migrants: Sea Change.

  45. Chris

    Why are the Nats base rural agrarian socialists?. Fairfax runs their local newspapers and their abc runs the radio and television. Only the recent satellite television and satellite internet have freed rural Australia from the godless commo indoctrination of the Revolution.

    Oh FFS John, both of us can remember the Nats/Country Party were ALWAYS intervention and protectionists. Modern leftard media is just a continuation of the old stuff under a new flag. The fashionable leftism since 1972 is the same social contagion the rest of the country has, more education and decades watching media from uni graduates means all of us get a lot of the same values and prejudices.

  46. Cactus

    I don’t think it is realistic to defund/sell the ABC. Lets start with the possible. I would direct the ABC to sell their plush inner city digs in Sydney and Melbourne and move the HQ out to the suburbs/regional towns. Don’t worry, your job is safe, its just now in Penrith. It will give you an opportunity to use public transport each day which we know you love. You can say that all savings from selling those assets can go to the NDIS. If you are against this policy, I ask, why do you hate the…?

  47. jjf

    Sky is so much better without PVO!!

  48. jjf

    First step should be to merge ABC and SBS – surely you could sell the merits of that to the public.

    Next step is to sell off the radio network only.

    Third limit remaining channels – 1 kids, 1 sport, 1 drama, 1 news

    Fourth – no more editorialising, unless its on a separate channel by subscription only.

  49. EvilElvis

    A lot of good ideas for dealing with the ABC put forth but I think a slash and burn would be the only politically expedient way to go. It needs to be done early, by a new government to give people time to get over it. All this merger, downsizing etc talk would do is allow the following government a chance to replenish funding and the merry go round continues. Destroy the joint.

  50. JohnL

    Don’t watch it. Not only ABC, any Australian TV. I just bought TV-box – for $46. I can access thousands of movies and TV shows including news, sport, documentaries and much, much more from all over the world – for free!
    I chose what I watch!

  51. Julian:

    How do you sell something that loses $1 billion a year? Not sure who is running the catallaxy posts at the moment but you need to smarten up. There will be no proceeds from a sale. It would just need to be shut down.

    Does the ABC own land/plant/copyrights?
    The ABC is worth billions in a properly marketed sale.

  52. old bloke

    Julian
    #2739746, posted on June 17, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    How do you sell something that loses $1 billion a year? Not sure who is running the catallaxy posts at the moment but you need to smarten up. There will be no proceeds from a sale. It would just need to be shut down.

    The ABC holds the licenses for large slices of the radio and television broadcast spectrum’s, this is where the value lies.

  53. Snoopy

    The ABC holds the licenses for large slices of the radio and television broadcast spectrum’s, this is where the value lies.

    Let’s not forget the social licences and human capital!

  54. mh

    Let’s not forget the social licences and human capital!

    So what is the value of a capital asset such as Annabel Crabb?

    Or Emma Alberici?

  55. H B Bear

    Members of the ALPBC staff co-op are in for a rude shock if the staff co-op human capital has a market value applied to it. When wages are 50% of operating costs against 25% for commercial media the answer will be zero for a fair chunk of them. These are the sort of facts that need to be widely known if the Lieborals are ever going to start making inroads on this giant sheltered workshop.

  56. EvilElvis

    Priceless, snoopy. Priceless.

  57. JohnA

    Winston Smith #2740317, posted on June 18, 2018, at 11:00 am

    Julian:

    How do you sell something that loses $1 billion a year? Not sure who is running the catallaxy posts at the moment but you need to smarten up. There will be no proceeds from a sale. It would just need to be shut down.

    Does the ABC own land/plant/copyrights?
    The ABC is worth billions in a properly marketed sale.

    Careful, now, or you will scare the horses. You are talking about an asset-stripping operation. That is laudable to us who think, of course, but strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of the ABC-luvvies and leftie drones who respond to PVOs tweets.

  58. Julian:
    Bugger the ABC Luvvies. With Thors Hammer.

  59. Procrustes

    PVO changes his position on something more often than a weather vane

    I agree with old bloke – the spectrum should be auctioned off for use by any other communications platform. The ABC staff can crowd fund to buy that if they think people want to run this service. Or just join the job market

  60. Des Deskperson

    Here’s Michelle Grattan on the ABC website spruiking her best against anye sale of the ABC

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-18/threat-to-the-abc-is-not-sale-but-more-bullying/9879420

    She has nothing of particular interest or originality to say. Basically it’s:

    all a Newscorp/IPA plot

    Murdoch is jealous of the ABC’s digits success [??]

    ABC the most trusted news source [with viewing numbers in the teens??]

    it would be electoral suicide

    Australia Institute surveys say…

    It doesn’t mention how much Grattan receives from the ABC in an average year as – as I understand it – an ongoing paid contributor. It’s also a tackily unprofessional and clumsily obvious piece of self-justification from the ABC that has no place on its own news website. It belongs in the MEAA ABC Branch bulletin

  61. Chris

    Let’s not forget the social licences and human capital!

    But the social capital is intangible!!1!

  62. JohnA

    Winston Smith #2740371, posted on June 18, 2018, at 12:15 pm

    Julian:
    Bugger the ABC Luvvies. With Thors Hammer.

    A commendable attitude, but I was concerned that we don’t give them ammunition for a scare campaign against “dem ebil corporate cowboys who want to strip a valued Australian icon”. Valued? Hah!

  63. John A;

    A commendable attitude, but I was concerned that we don’t give them ammunition for a scare campaign against “dem ebil corporate cowboys who want to strip a valued Australian icon”. Valued? Hah!

    I have a sneaking admiration for Patton who when being roundly condemned by ?Montgomery about threats to his flanks, retorted “I don’t worry about my flanks, I make the Germans worry about theirs!”

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