In her first official interview as the new (incoming) MD of the ABC, Michelle Guthrie has declined to rule out (heaven forbid!) advertising at the government broadcaster.
In an interview yesterday morning with ABC News 24 Guthrie said: ““It is important on an overall basis in budget-constrained times to really look at all options around monetisation.
“Even internationally the Australia Plus channel does carry advertising, so internationally we already have that example – but as I said it is too early to be making any definitive pronouncements.
“The current ABC charter talks about the restrictions in which we operate or the environment in which we operate and I’ll continue to work within that charter and also in terms of what the audience really desires,” she said.
It’s unclear what any advertising would actually look like. Would it be constrained solely to the broadcasters’ array of websites (paywalls have been mooted) or reach right through to TV too?
Guthrie’s appointment was made official by the ABC this morning although it had been widely speculated in the media over the past week. Guthrie is the ABC’s first female boss in the broadcaster’s 83 year history.
It is believed Guthrie beat off dozens of applicants – both from Australia and overseas – for arguably the best job in Australian media.
However, any plans to have advertising on the ABC is sure to be met by stiff resistance. It’s hardly an idea that will win over support from ABC diehards and would most likely get vetoed by Labor and the Greens who would argue it would impact editorial independence and affect programs that didn’t rate well.
Both Labor and the Greens have repeatedly rejected the SBS’ demands for more ad time particularly during prime time viewing. A move to television ads would also be aggressively contested by the other free-to-air players who would see it as even more competition for the dwindling ad spend pool.