The ABC has responded to Sinclair Davidson writing in The Australian Financial Review on the weekend, calling his column a basket case of inaccuracies about the role of the ABC and its value to Australians.
Davidson, a professor of economics at the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub, is also listed as an adjunct fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) and is the co-author of the publication “Against Public Broadcasting: why we should privatise the ABC and how to do it”.
His 15 January piece “The ABC no longer has a purpose” displays a lack of understanding of the critical role of public broadcasters such as the ABC in the modern media age.
And the main contention – that Australian audiences are not as reliant on ABC services as they once were – is blatantly wrong.
In 2020 Australians turned to the ABC in record numbers, highlighting its role as Australia’s most trusted and valued media organisation.
Among the audience data:
• ABC News was the nation’s #1 digital news brand every month for the past 12 months.
• ABC News’s average daily digital audience is up 79% on 2019 to 2.2 million people and its average monthly audience is 38% higher at 12.5 million.
• ABC TV was the #3 network in 2020, for the first time since 2013.
• The ABC News channel achieved its highest-ever monthly reach in March of 6.4 million viewers.
• ABC TV was the only free-to-air network to experience significant growth in reach in 2020 (up 1.4 percentage points on 2019 to 46.9%).
• ABC Kids is the #1 channel among children, achieving a share of 53% among 0-4 year olds. ABC Kids is also #1 among 5-12s during daytime, with ABC ME in 2nd place.
• ABC Radio was the nation’s #1 radio network in 2020 with a share of 25.3% (combined metro, regional and national). In total, our radio networks also reached 37.2% of listeners across the five major capitals.
• All ABC Radio networks increased their share and reach this year.
15 of the top 20 ABC TV programs in 2020, across broadcast and ABC iview, were Australian.