How do you put a price on the value of the ABC?
In pursuit of that answer, the ABC has commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to do some research. Their report is still being compiled and will be released shortly. However the early findings are interesting.
They show that the ABC contributed more than $1 billion to the Australian economy in the last financial year – on a par with the public investment in the organisation. Far from being a drain on the public purse, the audience, community and economic value stemming from ABC activity is a real and tangible benefit.
Of that $1 billion, more than a third is economic support for the broader media ecosystem. The ABC is boosting activity across the country. Recent examples include the filming of Mystery Road in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia, and the production of Rosehaven outside Hobart.
Deloitte calculates that the ABC is helping to sustain more than 6000 full-time equivalent jobs across the economy. It means that for every 3 full-time equivalent jobs created by the ABC, there are another 2 supported in our supply chain – local artists, writers, technicians, transport workers and many more. In hard figures, the research shows that the ABC helps to sustain 2,500 full-time equivalent jobs in addition to the 4000 women and men who are directly employed by the public broadcaster.
When broken down this equates to more than 500 additional jobs in production companies, over 400 jobs elsewhere in the broadcast sector, and close to 300 full-time equivalent jobs in the professional services.
Amidst the debate over the ABC’s purpose and its funding we should all remember that there are 2,500 jobs outside public broadcasting at risk in any move to curtail our remit and activities.
Last financial year, 92% of the ABC’s budget will be spent on making content, supporting content makers and distribution.
Thirty years ago, the ABC had five platforms and 6,000 people working around the country. Today, the ABC has two-thirds the number of people operating six times the number of platforms and services with half the real per capita funding. This update is an extract of an ABC address at the Melbourne Press Club on 18 June 2018.