Review of Australian Broadcasting Services in the Asia Pacific
This review commenced with the publication of the Review Terms of Reference on 4 June 2018 calling for submissions from interested stakeholders by 3 August 2018.
A total of 433 submissions were received, including 310 pro forma submissions and 123 unique submissions of which 31 were from groups or organisations. Eighteen submissions were from people identifying as current or former Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) staff or contractors. Submissions were received from Australia and countries in the Asia Pacific region, but also the United Kingdom, Germany, the United States of America and Peru.
Most submissions focused on issues surrounding broadcasting to the Pacific, with just seven explicitly discussing Asian markets. Those submissions discussing Asian markets were more likely to observe the diversity of markets, media and content and market trends away from broadcasting towards narrowcasting. Those discussing Pacific markets were more likely to focus on particular community needs and the role of shortwave broadcasting, particularly the ABC’s cessation of shortwave broadcasting in the Pacific. There was little discussion of the cessation of shortwave broadcasting in the Asian markets.
- Submissions highlighted the significant variation of media markets across and within countries of the Asia Pacific region. This included the highly competitive nature of some markets in Asia and dramatically changing historical patterns of media usage, which requires the use of a flexible “narrowcasting” approach that tailors content and distribution platforms to be fit for purpose for the target audiences in each country.
- Many submissions expressed concern that successive budget cutbacks have caused reductions in Australia’s supplies of international broadcasting services, particularly to the Pacific. Consequently they advocated for the revitalisation of those international services, including alternative models for delivery and governance of Australian government funded international broadcasting services.
- The majority of submissions, which focused on the Pacific, advocated the restoration of ABC’s shortwave services in the Pacific region.
- Submissions that were in favour of restoring shortwave services disputed the views that the technology has “limited and diminishing audiences” and disproportionately high costs.
This report presents the key findings of the review regarding the:
- Reach of Australia’s broadcasting services to the Asia Pacific. In order to assess the reach of Australia’s Asia Pacific broadcasts, the Review conducted an analysis of the market for those broadcasts.
- Costs and benefits of Australia’s shortwave broadcasts to the Asia Pacific (section 4). In order to assess the value of Australia’s shortwave broadcasts to the Asia Pacific, the Review conducted a quantitative analysis of the net benefits Australia has derived from its shortwave broadcasts to the Asia Pacific in the past, as well as a qualitative analysis of the net benefits Australia could expect to derive from resuming its shortwave broadcasts in the future.
- Opportunities to improve Australia’s Asia Pacific broadcasts (section 5), including opportunities to increase the actual reach of those broadcasts, as well as the net benefits Australia and the Asia Pacific region derive from those broadcasts.