New Directions, New Challenges
Edited By Stephen Cushion and Richard Sambrook
Chapter 5: The View from Australia: How Will We Be Heard?
← 62 | 63 →CHAPTER FIVE
The View from Australia: How Will We Be Heard?
MARK SCOTT, FORMER DIRECTOR GENERAL, ABC
After noting historian George Rudé’s estimate that Robespierre had made 900 speeches, Hilary Mantel made a telling observation: “He had spoken, of course; but had he been heard?”1 Questions of a similar nature keep me awake at night. What impact can news make, what is its future audience and how will news be heard and seen?
The ABC currently produces thousands of hours of television news and current affairs each year. And, in the context of existing audiences for television in Australia, audiences for TV news are exceptionally good. The evening news bulletin of the ABC, along with those of the two most successful commercial TV services, Seven and Nine, are fixtures in the Top 10 of Australia’s most watched programs. Audiences for the ABC’s rolling news service ABC News24, the home of breaking news on ABC TV, continue to grow.
TV news is in great shape in Australia—whatever happens to it in future, it will have the advantage of coming off a strong base. However, it’s difficult to imagine how this degree of audience interest might be sustained, both now as transformation is underway and later, in 10 to 15 years’ time, when most television will be delivered via the internet.
Over the next five years in Australia, both standard and high-definition channels...
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