#fairfax

Your ABC – shocking inefficiency created by demotivated staff

While it might seem like another beat up on the ABC, we need to take a long hard look at how it operates. How is it TVNZ can operate as a self funded government entity which collects a currency adjusted 1/4 the ABC’s revenue on 1/8th staff? How many people actually understand their ABC?

Salary increases and budget increases have a 90.34% R-squared correlation meaning that budget increases tend to lead to paying higher salaries.

While some may talk about “good” content, sadly ABC’s ratings have slid considerably for over a decade in regional and metro areas. TVNZ’s have risen. So hard core left has the ABC shifted that it has created a narrower audience. The MD openly stated that if Australians wanted to protect the ABC they shouldn’t vote LNP. So much for respecting its charter which bans political bias.

TVNZ must cater to the free market for advertising dollars therefore content must meet the audience needs. It’s simple. ABC should follow suit.

Throwing more money at the ABC has not solved ratings problems. One guesses that diverting more tax dollars at kids programs that disparage white privilege, comedy shows that openly call conservative politicians “c*nts” during by-elections and producers that allows indigenous comedians to defecate on a white woman probably has a very narrow audience. Content IS the problem.

Look at The Guardian as case in point of journalism that fails to address market needs. It is free and in recent years gone cap in hand for donations because its user base aren’t prepared to stump up cash to support it. Do we need a public broadcaster to subsidize views of the left? The Guardian is simply competing in the “same” area as the ABC. ABC starves The Guardian of oxygen because we as taxpayers fully fund it. The ABC crowds out left leaning media.

Look no further than CNN. It has doubled, even trebled down on its unhinged bias. The ratings have plummeted. Fox on the other hand has risen. Whether one likes the content of Fox is irrelevant. Advertisers go there because the reach is self evident.

Moan all you want about Murdoch. His users pay and the ratings are up. Don’t shoot him if his product sells. Try self reflection. The Sydney Morning Herald tried to tell users its product was worth subscribing to. Unfortunately it ignored slumping readership and ended up being acquired by Nine Network. If you don’t cater to your audience, they won’t support you.

Staff levels at the ABC have never been higher. Ratings never been lower. Lifting the budget hasn’t caused any change. Cutting dollars will cause much needed restructuring. It is like feeding a dying patient with more morphine hoping to numb the pain. Unfortunately the body grows resistance to that. ABC staff feel this.

In the 2018 annual report, the ABC staff survey revealed engagement is at 46%, 6% below the previous survey. This puts in the bottom quartile of all ANZ businesses. #Reform desperately needed.

ABC staff complained that management doesn’t do enough to get rid of under-performers. Another clear signal that state-sponsored mediocrity is tolerated.

The culture of the organization won’t be turned around by management unless it is given a reality check of being rapidly withdrawn from the taxpayer teat. That way the c.70% of staff dedicated to content can finally listen to what the broader public want to consume rather than the echo chamber they live in. By the way, those who love the ABC needn’t worry. The limited number of good programs will stay if the audiences demand them. The unhinged radical left programming can be cut with little loss to anyone with a modicum of intelligence.

Fair facts about Fairfax

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Freedom of the press. A beautiful thing. By all means, the 177-yo Sydney Morning Hearld (SMH) executed full autonomy over what it published. In the end, the public didn’t buy it. For the staff to seek the union to block the Nine Network’s takeover of Fairfax Media smacks of the identical numb-skulled action that has brought them to this predicament. If the paper decided to listen to what the audience wanted to read (the mood) as opposed to telling them they “don’t get it” it might have retained its independence. Take a look at the pictograph above – 20 anti Trump articles in one day. Overkill?

Last year the SMH had to take two massive rounds of lay-offs inside of 12 months because the product wasn’t reaching. The SMH staff took a vote to strike because their evil overlords put profit ahead of people. Welcome to the free market. When one journalist at the SMH became a scab (because he admitted the paper’s journalism was the  problem) he was vilified by his fellow workers. Instead of opening their minds that they maybe the root cause, they protested. Finger on the pulse?

It certainly makes a strong case for how the diminishing readership base (i.e. the free market) viewed the content. Not very highly. It is why The Guardian now asks its readers for charity so it can stay alive? Could it be that media jobs don’t exist to serve the journalists needs but that of their audience? The Fairfax scribes might reflect on the fact that the taxpayer funded ABC – which produces identical product – was not the friendly ally it believed it was but the mortal enemy who ended it. As an audience, if we’re not offered a differentiated product where the same content  is free to consume, who would pay for the one that costs?

Yet the sale of Fairfax was obvious. Digging a bit deeper into the stats of the ABC reveals its biased left leaning journalism has dwindling popularity. Comparing 2016/17 and 2015/16 it is clear that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 52.5% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 57.3%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets a 50% reach. Good to see taxpayer dollars openly championed with enhanced levels of mediocrity. Yet the ABC screams for more funding.

Throwing more money won’t fix the problems. The ABC’s wage bill is 50% of revenue while its multicultural sister station SBS runs on 31% of revenue for salaries. Why hasn’t the ABC got superior economies of scale? On a global basis, the UK’s BBC spends 22.7% of its revenues on salaries. How can Nine Network survive on advertising revenues? Could it be audience numbers allow advertisers to make rational decisions to tap them?

Criticise Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian for right wing media bias but at the very least he serves a market who is willing to pay for the content. Simple. It is no difference overseas. Fox has more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. Don’t belt Fox viewers for following “Faux News” but question what is it about their offering that they’re missing? At what point do the likes of Fairfax or Time Warner realize the problem lies within.

In Fairfax’s case we have the answer – market forces.