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Merge SBS and ABS online content: report

Protesters form the ABC logo at Fed Square, Melbourne at a rally to oppose funding cuts to the broadcaster. AAP Image/Get Up

Protesters form the ABC logo at Fed Square, Melbourne at a rally to oppose funding cuts to the broadcaster. AAP Image/Get Up

The ABC and SBS could save money by merging their online services, an independent think-tank says.

A report by The Australia Institute released on Tuesday suggests consolidating online news from both broadcasters and combining the online streaming iView and SBSOnDemand services.

‘Sharing content, translation, and publishing systems presents likely opportunities to make more efficient use of resources,’ it says.

The report finds a merger of administration and back-office functions would not achieve worthwhile efficiencies.

But it says the ABC’s extensive online news could be made available for translation to SBS.

It also recommends the goal of scrapping advertising from SBS, but wants any savings from the measures re-invested into public broadcasting.

‘Any attempt to reduce expenditure … would undercut the entire rationale of structural reform and leave the ABC, SBS, NITV and their viewers and funders in a weaker position to face the challenges of the 21st Century.’

Outgoing ABC managing director Mark Scott recently suggested a merger between the two broadcasters was worthy of investigation.

He told a Senate estimates hearing the difference between the two broadcasters was not as distinct as it once was.

Mr Scott will address the National Press Club on Wednesday.


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