Thursday, December 18, 2008

Crikey and LP on the ABC and SBS Submission

Margaret Simons has picked up on the 'Social Innovation' submission I posted yesterday at her Content Makers blog at Crikey.

One submission to the review has been made public by its authors, and makes interesting reading. It is co-authored by Queensland University academics Axel Bruns, Stuart Cunningham, Terry Flew and Jason Wilson, (shortly to be at the University of Wollongong). Cunningham, in particular, has a modicum of influence as part of the Austraian Research Council funded Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation*.

You can read their submission here, key points are summarised here and there is a discussion about it public broadcasting going on here . You are encouraged to get involved.

But here is a key point the authors make, which has relevance for the idea of a restructure of the ABC based on content and target audience, rather than delivery platform. The authors say:

In the 21st century digital media environment, where all media outlets are multi-platform and digitised in their modes of content production and delivery, it is better to understand the ABC and SBS as public service media organizations, rather than public service broadcasters. This emphasises how it is the services provided, rather than the delivery platforms, that are at the core of rationales for public support of the ABC and SBS.

Now there are those within the ABC that are relishing the suggestion of a return to a management structure based around content. Some within the organisation think that a lot of problems can be dated back to former managing director David Hill’s moves in the other direction - removing executive power bases that were based on content, rather than around radio, television and so forth.

All this debate is, in the long and the short run, a lot more important than the stuff about individuals - Sue Howard and all that.

There has also been an ongoing discussion at Larvatus Prodeo, initiated by Mark Bahnisch:

The points made in Terry’s post might be enough to riff off, but I’d be interested in any case in opening a discussion on where public broadcasting should go. I think we’re at an interesting crossroads where some of the unintended consequences of the Howard government’s funding cuts to ABC and SBS can now be leveraged into something more interesting - particularly in light of some innovation overseas (especially in Britain). I have a feeling that in the less “big picture” areas of federal government responsibility some more interesting developments are likely to occur under the Rudd government than in the headline stuff. And public broadcasting is one arena that can potentially attract a lot of citizen input ... So, as they say, let it rip!

I'll aim to synthesise some of the main points over the weekend, and perhaps try to get something into the mainstream press in what is definitely a slow news time of year.

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