If you want to look at why the ABC doesn’t need more money, look at the staff costs to income ratio. Despite plateauing between 2008 & 2011 it quickly exploded. It now sits at 46% of income generated. That is $524mn on staff costs per year and rising. 4,939 staff grace the ABC. Revenue per employee is $232,000. A decade ago it was $232,700. Is that what the management target for hiring? Give the ABC $2bn and presumably it will have employment costs of $1bn.
Channel 9 must fight hard for every advertising penny but still manages a 29.1% staff cost to revenue ratio. $380m in staff costs on $1.3bn revenue. 3,310 employees converts to $392,750 revenue per staff member.
Sevenwest Media raked in $1.62bn in revenue on staff costs of $395mn or 24%. Same cutthroat world of earning a living instead of expecting one. Seven West has 4,528 staff meaning it generates $357,800 in revenue per employee.
Maybe ABC should channel the New Zealand state broadcaster, TVNZ. It gets $310m of its $318m purse from advertising. It’s staff costs excluding capitalizing into programs is $72m which converts to 23% staff cost/revenues. They do with 642 FT employees. Revenue/employee is $495,000. It paid a dividend back to the government of $3.7m. i.e. it is a revenue generating asset.
In 2007, TVNZ had $339m in revenue. It employed 1,023 people. Therefore revenue per employee was $331,380. So in a decade, TVNZ efficiency improved almost 50%. A 6% cut to revenue on 63% of the staff.
Instead of the long term ratings slide at the ABC across metro and regional Australia, TVNZ’s figures keep improving. Last year, TVNZ had a 43.2% all day audience up 1.3%.
Comparing 2017/18 and 2015/16 at the ABC we see that TV audience reach for metro fell from 55.2% to 49.7% and regional slumped from 60.3% to 54.0%. If we go back to 2007/8 the figures were 60.1% and 62.4% respectively. For the 2017/18 period, the ABC targets 50% reach. Hardly a stretch.
Maybe ScoMo should consider that the ABC compete and become self funding? The New Zealanders aren’t just better than us in rugby union but also in media.