The ABC has defended its new play in the lifestyle category, and has seemingly rubbished speculation that it will offer dumbed-down content to try and attract more eyeballs.
A number of media outlets reported this week that the government-funded broadcaster is launching a lifestyle website called ABC Life that will look similar to BuzzFeed in terms of content, with Guardian Australia quoting an $8 million figure for the new project.
However, B&T understands that the ABC is not trying to dumb down any content on its new platform. Rather, ABC Life will act primarily as a vehicle for bringing together existing ABC content from areas such as news, radio, TV, podcasts and online.
Furthermore, and ABC spokesperson said: “ABC Life will make a broad range of quality and engaging ABC content more easily accessible to our audiences.
“The project has a small dedicated team and mostly gives existing ABC employees from around Australia an opportunity to work on an exciting new digital project.
“A launch date has not been confirmed. While we don’t comment on internal budgets, Guardian Australia’s figures were significantly inaccurate.”
However, Free TV Australia CEO Bridget Fair believes it will be hard for the ABC to justify its new multimillion-dollar offering, which she said will essentially duplicate existing services in a market segment that is already “extremely well-served” by commercial players.
“The ABC Charter requires it to take into account the services already provided by the commercial sector. How does this new service fit with that obligation?” she told B&T.
“Free TV called for regulatory oversight of investment decisions by ABC and SBS in its submission to the government’s Competitive Neutrality Review.
“The ACMA should be asked to look at whether this sort of duplication of services already provided by the commercial sector is consistent with their charters.”