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Jan 23, 2009

ABC and SBS Lock Out Pay TV, says industry.

One of the arguments one hears from within the ABC against the outsourcing of production is that it leads to Auntie spending its dollars on programs which, after a few months, end up on

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One of the arguments one hears from within the ABC against the outsourcing of production is that it leads to Auntie spending its dollars on programs which, after a few months, end up on pay television.

A different view emerges from a submissions from the pay television sector to the Government review of public broadcasting. They complain that the ABC and SBS are being too aggressive in buying up rights to keep the shows away from Pay TV.

Mumbrella has the wrap-up. He got to read the submissions before me, and I thank him for the tip.

Once again we see that the battle of the small screen is now about pay TV versus free to air, and when it comes to free to air multi-channels, the ABC is in the front line, ahead of the commercials, who have no good reason to embrace audience fragmentation.

The pay-TV folks also reckon that the ABC shouldn’t get a public affairs channel or a children’s channel, since both are already available on pay.

This is the same battleground as the A-pac spectrum stoush I reported on in Crikey earlier this week.

The pay tv sector is challenging the ABC to justify its claim on the taxpayer purse. Meanwhile the federal government seems to be playing Foxtel and the ABC off against each other.

This will be a fundamental and long lasting battle.

Margaret Simons —

Margaret Simons

Journalist, author and director of the Centre for Advanced Journalism

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