FACT: 89% of Australians value the ABC

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A Newspoll conducted very recently found that 89% of Australians believe that the ABC provides a valuable service to the community.

Furthermore, An independent survey conducted by Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls in 1990 found that 86% of Australians use an ABC service each week. (As opposed to the 10 or 12.5 per cent as has been claimed by some ill-informed people).

The claim that the ABC is only for middle class lefties is also a load of rubbish, and not born out by evidence. According to Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls The great majority of Australians in all demographic groups and in all parts of the country listen to or watch the ABC for some period every week.

See: http://www.abc.net.au/corp/pubs/s941968.htm and http://www.friendsoftheabc.org/factsff.htm for more information.

-- Anonymous, September 17, 2003



Perhaps you did not see my post in answer to your previous comments about ABC audience share. First, remember that the ABC has five domerstic radio networks as well as a domestic TV network, and international radio and TV servies.

Second, you are confused about audience figures. Please read the following earlier post.


It is quite wrong to say that only 12.5% of people use the ABC. The well documented fact is that the great majority of Australians, somewhere between 70% and 94%, depending on which survey you rely on, use the ABC regularly.

What is the evidence for this? The evidence comes from a number of difference sources.

In 1990, Newspoll, a commercial opinion poll company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Limited (no friend of the ABC) found that 86% of Australians use the ABC each week. The survey concluded:

"The ABC has a genuine broad appeal to the community. The great majority of Australians in all demographic groups and in all parts of the country listen to or watch the ABC for some period every week."  Lest you say that 1990 was a long time ago, and anyway that was just one survey, we have more evidence.

In 1996 Bob Mansfield, the high profile businessman appointed by John Howard to review the ABC reported that in the five major capital cities 69% of people watched ABC TV each week. He also found that 41% of the population aged ten and over listened to ABC radio each week. You can't add these figures together, because many of those watching TV are the same as those listening to radio, but it is clear that when you take account of both TV and radio the audience is greater than 69%, and may easily be as large or larger than the 86% figure found by Newspoll.

More recently, between July and September 2001, OzTam, the company that uses "people meters" to measure TV audiences for both commercial audiences and the ABC, found that in the five major capital cities 12, 086, 211 people tuned into ABC TV over the three month period. This represents 94% of the population in these cities.

When you quote a figure of 12.5% cound not be talking about how many people are using the ABC. However you may be getting confused with the ABC's average share of audience which is around 14% for TV and 20% for radio.

There are two commonly used measures of audiences, commonly called "share" and "reach". Both are valid measures - they just measure different things.

The ABC has a large reach but a fairly small share. Enemies of the ABC often choose just to selectively quote the less favourable figure (share), and ignore the more favourable one (cumulative audience sometimes known as 'reach' or "cume")

If Station A has 300,000 viewers, who watch for an average of one hour, it will have 300,000 viewer hours.

If Station C has 100,000 viewers, who watch for an average of four hours, it will have 400,000 viewer hours.

Despite the fact that Station C has 200,000 fewer viewers than station A, it will have a higher audience share, because it has fewer people watching for a longer time. Despite the fact that Station A has three times as many viewers as Station C it will have a lower audience share, because its viewers don't tune in for so long. Station A will of course have a large reach.

Here is a current example. In the fifth ACNielsen survey of radio audiences in Melbourne for 2003 (http://www.nielsenmedia.com.au//en/pdf/mri/11/Radiometrosurvey5_2003_ Melbourne.pdf), 774 ABC Melbourne (formerly 3LO) had a reach of 771,000. Its commercial rival, 3AW with a similar talk format, had a reach of 681,00. That is, 3AW had 90,000 fewer listeners than ABC 774. On the other hand 3AW had a larger share - 14.1% compared to ABC 774's share of 12.3%. Who has the most listeners - ABC 774. Who has the most 'listener hours' - 3AW.

The facts are that in the capital cities ABC TV has an audience share just over 14%, while ABC Radio has an audience share of just over 20%. The ABC's share figures are higher than this in regional areas. This is significantly higher than the 12.5% that you quote.

More importantly, survey after survey has demonstrated that the vast majority of Australians, almost nine in every ten, regularly use the ABC. The claim that only 12.5% do so is plain wrong.

-- Darce Cassidy (darce@friendsoftheabc.org), September 13, 2003.

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2003

Kate, what an intelligent reply. So you'll only believe the the evidence which supports your arguement, and you will ignore any evidence that doesn't support your argument. You'll go a long way in life with an attitude like that.

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2003

Tom, the following figures might indicate what your "86% of Australians" use for the rest of the week!

Ratings published in The Australian, Sept 18. 2003.

Audience share, Prime-time free-to-air.

Channel 9: 30.8% Channel 10: 25.8% Channel 7: 23.9% Channel 2: 15.1% Channel SBS: 4.4%

-- Anonymous, September 18, 2003

Not only that Darce, but the 69% figure would be higher for television in regional areas.

Furthermore, ABC Television costs only 40% of the cost of the commercial broadcasters per television hour, so if there are less people watching ABC Television that is quite reasonable. In fact, given that the ABC audience share is MORE than 40% of the audience share of each of the three commercial television networks, THE ABC REPRESENTS BETTER VALUE THAN ALL THREE COMMERCIAL NETWORKS.

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2003

See http://www.friendsoftheabc.org/factsff.htm for the 40% figure.

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2003

Along with millions of others, I'll stick with the newspoll rating numbers!

Rarely believe anything I hear or see on the AB silly C. As for anything you jokers quote, you must be joking!

-- Anonymous, September 19, 2003

The assumptions reached by Tom and Darce, the voices of FOABSC, astound me. First of all I'm nothing but an Alston lackey, probably in his employ, then my email address is discredited and my intelligence questioned. Typical ABSC arrogance. They can never be questioned. They can never be criticised. But they continue to soak up our taxes. And Darce, don't worry about where I am in life! I'm doing OK!

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2003

Kate, You say that the ABC "soaks up your taxes". I would not describe $37 a year as "soaking up your taxes". That money pays for a television network and 5 national radio networks.

Here's a question for you Kate, do you never watch any programs on ABC TV or listen to ABC Radio at all?

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2003

Yes Tom, I have to plead guilty to that. How else would I be aware of the ABSC's apalling bias and hatred of the thrice democratically elected Howard government? Whilst even one cent of my tax contribution is spent funding this fraud, I'll be taking notes!

And for goodness sakes Tom, stop repeating the old wives tale that there are 20,000,000 taxpayers in this country!

-- Anonymous, September 22, 2003

Kate, the vast majority of Australians do simply do not agree with you assertion that the ABC is biased against the Howard Government (me included).

The recently released Newspoll survey of Australians' view of the ABC explored the issue of being balanced and even handed specifically in relation to the 7pm News, 7.30 Report, The World Today, AM and PM. As found in the 2002 survey, the vast majority (ranging from 85-93%) of viewers or listeners believe each program does a good job of being balanced and even handed.

Presumably, Kate you are not being objective in your criticism of the ABC. It is, however the ABC's jobs to be objective, and it is!

Almost all Australians pay tax at some stage in their lives. Most adults are happy to pay for services on behalf of children and old- age pensioners who do not, for obvious reasons have the capacity to pay for themselves. How would you suggest that children would pay for services that they use?

-- Anonymous, September 22, 2003

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