ABC seeks online TV funding

Australian national public broadcaster ABC is seeking separate funding from the federal government for its iview online television catch-up service.

In its response to the federal Convergence Review’s interim report published December 15 2011 – which expressed a need to ensure sufficient Australian-made programming is available online – the ABC said that the costs of distributing its programmes online was rising. In 2011, ABC iview recorded 2.9 million visits per month, an increase of 48 per cent.

‘”The ABC would like to re-emphasise the importance of ensuring that its online distribution costs are explicitly funded in the same way that its costs for distributing content by terrestrial broadcast,” said the ABC in its submission.

The call for separate iview funding comes in the wake of reports that the federal government had recently agreed to postpone details of the ABC’s next three-year funding package until 2013, to allow the broadcaster to assess the final Convergence Review report, scheduled for submission in March 2012.

The Convergence Review, set up by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, also recommended the expansion of the local content rules that apply to free-to-air television stations also to cover new media companies. While the ABC is not subject to quotas, the broadcaster warned against such a move, saying it was “not convinced’” it was better policy.

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