Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, August 19, 2003
HERE IS BIFFER BALDING'S list of budget shavings:

Television Closure of digital multichannels $7.27m (announced 26/05/03)
Removal of advertising budget $2.75m
Reduction in factual programming $0.50m
Removal of schools production $1.83m
Reduction in live sport $0.53m
Production plan cut $1.50m

News and Current Affairs

Reformat Foreign Correspondent and other measures $2.0m
Remove cadet journalist program $0.53m
Re-schedule morning business outputto noon $0.90m
International Operations (FX) $2.0m

Radio $0.20m

New Media $0.05m

Development Division
Audience Research $1.0m

Non-Program Functions $5.04m

That is, apart from the punt on digital broadcast, the major savings are in staff reductions.

Allowing for the fact that most of the cuts lack detail ("reduction in factual programming"?), and some are clearly taken straight from the list of management priorities brought forward to lay at Alston's feet, we are left with some big questions.

Like, what is the potential saving by cutting the kind of program Auntie should have cut anyway?

For example:

Late Night Live
The National Interest
Background Briefing (pre-schoolers retained while apprentice journalists sacked!)
Crap TV (insert your list below).

And where is the extra money for corporate education in the small matter of professional standards?