- Chief Content Officer Chris Oliver-Taylor will oversee the new ABC Content division.
- Jennifer Collins named Head of Screen Content.
- Heads of Drama & Comedy to merge as Head of Scripted.
- Entertainment and Indigenous will become independent departments.
- Children become Children and Family.
- News chief Justin Stevens will oversee the regional offices
ABC management has announced a major internal restructuring that will move from three divisions (formerly News/Entertainment and Specialist/Regional and Local) to just two: News and Content as part of a “digital first” approach.
The changes will impact some executive roles and staff as several departments merge. It’s unclear how many roles are affected.
In a note to Chief Executive Officer David Anderson wrote: “Today I am delighted to formally announce the new ABC content structure which will support our strategy. From 1 July, this new structure will enable us to sustainably produce relevant and sought-after content by our audiences and distribute it across all platforms in the formats where it will have the greatest impact. It is the first step in a process that will be outlined next month in the Five Year Plan. This restructuring will also help with the company’s ability to respond to significantly increasing organizational operating costs that are generating continued budgetary pressures for ABC.
“The restructuring has two key elements.
“First, all regional offices will join ABC News led by News Director Justin Stevens. ABC has an unrivaled presence across regional, rural and remote Australia. This will remain one of our greatest strengths. The change allows ABC to leverage ABC’s significant investments in regional journalism, following the passage of the media contracting code and our agreements with Google and Facebook. Today we have one of the largest teams of specialist rural journalists in the world. With an additional 60 journalists, we now have around 600 content creators in regional Australia, operating from 58 locations outside the state and territory capitals.
“This decisive move will strengthen our commitment to independent and impartial journalism for, by and about all Australians, wherever they live. The updated news structure will streamline production processes as ABC transitions to a digital model, ensuring regional Australian stories are incorporated into all ABC news coverage and available instantly in multiple formats across ABC and dial-up platforms. third parts.
“I want to gratefully acknowledge the tremendous contribution made to ABC by the Regional & Local division over many years. The team’s professionalism and passion for delivering regional Australian news, information and stories to local communities and the nation at large has set a standard of excellence that will continue through the new model.
“Second, a new ABC Content division will be created, led by Chief Content Officer Chris Oliver-Taylor. This more centralized approach will reduce the complexity of the current commissioning model and ensure we work more effectively with Australia’s external creative sector. It will provide a greater opportunity to commission Australia’s most important and compelling stories across a range of genres, generating more value from our investments.
“Radio is critical to ABC, our audience and remains vital to our future. As Australian audiences move from radio broadcasting to streaming or on-demand audio, they increasingly want to hear their favorite broadcasters and listen to their favorite specialist content when, where and how they want. This in no way diminishes the importance of what we do, as many of Australia’s favorite podcasts and radio shows today are presented by the ABC.
“As we move to a digital-first model, the capital’s local radio and most of RN’s national radio networks, ABC Classic, triple j and DAB+ services will transition to the new ABC Content division, while RN’s Breakfast and Drive programs and Background Briefing it will move to News. We will continue to invest in ABC Listen so ABC is the sound of Australia into the future, increasingly through digital engagement.
“Change is never easy. Clearly this restructuring is impacting some of our leaders. In that case, we will try to redeploy as many affected employees as possible. But we expect there will be some layoffs and consultations are underway with affected leaders. We’re also holding briefing sessions with the content teams to walk them through the changes.”
The new Content Division should be fully operational from 1 July.
The ABC profile are three main pillars of its new leadership structure:
- Creativity first, with a strong focus on our engagement with our audience.
- Simplicity with responsibility. Senior leaders who are empowered to deliver the right outcome for our audiences in challenging times and are accountable for their decisions.
- A focus on digital transformation and advancement, including our technology and creative prioritization with ABC iview and ABC Listen.
11 roles will report to Chief Content Officer Chris Oliver-Taylor (pictured above) on the leadership team.
In a note to staff Oliver-Taylor wrote: “Jennifer Collins (pictured below) will have a new title, Head of Screen Content. Jen is a very experienced creative leader and I am thrilled that she will fill this role, which she will report to me.
“Sally Riley’s recent announcement that she will be leaving ABC has given us an opportunity to evaluate how we will handle Drama and Comedy. In Jen’s team, Scripted will be a new department, which includes Drama and Comedy. The Heads of Drama and Comedy will be merged to form a senior leadership role, Head of Scripted.
“Entertainment and Indigenous will become autonomous departments, with Indigenous Chief Kelrick Martin reporting to myself.
“Nick Hayden will continue to lead Entertainment, reporting directly to Jen.
“Children’s (now known as Children’s and Family) will continue to be led by Libbie Doherty. ABC Kids Listen will remain as part of the responsibility of the Children’s & Family team.
“Factual, currently led by Acting Head of Factual Richard Huddleston, will continue to report to Head Screen Content. This department will be responsible for all external Factual commissions including all documentaries, formats and series and all internal Factual commissions including Compass, Catalyst, Gardening Australia, Landline and Back Roads.
“Events (part of R&L’s screen component) and the arts round out the new Screen Content department.
“We have also created a new role, Head Audio On Demand & Development, which will enable an ABC-wide focus on the creation, commissioning and publishing of audio on demand content from the division.
“We will be creating a single leadership role of Audio Content Head to lead all of our radio networks, including Capital City Radio and our sports outlet, Radio National (with the exception of RN Breakfast, Drive and Background Briefing, which will transition to News), ABC Classic, triple j, double j, unearthed triple j, ABC Country and ABC Jazz.Responding to the clear preferences of Australian audiences increasingly switching from radio to audio, this move will allow us to generate and promote even more great ABC content on the digital platforms.
“Our digital-first approach is to better serve ABC audiences across all platforms, including TV and radio, linear and on demand, using new technology and closer alignment of content to audience needs, interests and preferences. . With this in mind, we have also created a digital content and innovation team to be led by Angela Stengel, bringing together the Innovation Lab, digital and social professionals and ABC Listen. This will increase the priority of digital thinking and prioritization across the content division.
“Roberta Allan will continue to lead our screen capture and programming work in a newly defined role. Her main focus will be ABC iview programming, ABC’s linear channels and content acquisition on behalf of ABC. Roberta will work closely with the P&T team to continue to lead the development of ABC iview to ensure it is a world-class audience-focused streaming service.
“As we look to centralize budget management for the Content division and take a more strategic approach to allocating resources, people and finances, Sacha Gregson will move into the role of Head of Production. In this role, he will oversee our large operations team, manufacturing executives and PMO. Sacha will also maintain his focus on diversity and sustainability and apply it across the new Division.
“One of the other main pillars of this reorganization is the development and implementation of a commissioning process that puts key decision makers at the heart of the process and brings our public team much closer to the decision-making process. This, over time, is designed to align the Content Division’s commissioning together (be it Audio or Screen, linear or on demand). This allows us to be truly audience focused and helps us understand how we are going to prioritize in this new Division. Sarah McKenzie will join the leadership team as Head of Commissioning and Content Planning to undertake this work.
The government this week promised the ABC $6 billion over the next five years.