Let’s Talk: Is the ABC leaving over-60s behind?

The shows you love are at risk after ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie says she wants the Australian broadcaster to

The shows you love are at risk after ABC managing director Michelle Guthrie says she wants the Australian broadcaster to increase its popularity beyond children and older audience members.

Guthrie also says there needs to be more cultural diversity within the organisation, encouraging personalities for its programs that come from non-Anglo backgrounds.

“I’ve heard it said in the past that the ABC has captured the hearts and minds of every pre-school and aged-care facility,” Guthrie said in her first major speech since taking the role in May.

“It’s a joke about the corporation’s strong popularity within these demographics.”

She says there needs to be greater imagination and commitment by the ABC to serve each and every Australian, by offering content that is more diverse than those for under-12 and the over-45s, emphasising that the ABC must become more relevant to 18-35 year olds.

With statistics revealing at least 28 per cent of Australians are born overseas, there is concern that the current programming at the ABC does not reflect modern Australia.

“The ABC can and must offer distinctive and relevant content,” Guthrie says.

However, in an independent poll commissioned by the ABC found that 86 per cent of its community believed it provided a valuable service and 49 per cent rated the ABC as ‘very valuable’. Those figures are the highest it has been since 2009.

The ABC is the broadcaster of such favourites as The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Rake, Utopia, Gardening Australia, Doctor Who and Q&A.

Do you watch the ABC? What are your favourite shows? Are you worried that a push to create more cultural diversity will see the shows you love disappear?

  1. Peter Greer  

    Leave the ABC alone if Michelle Guthrie wants change then leave & go to channel 9

  2. Noelene Tesseyman  

    A few LESS of those stupid comedy shows would be appreciated.

  3. leave ABC alone - diversity is covered by public funded SBS - and they do it very well  


  4. J Taylor  

    The first time they put another reality show on we won’t watch and that’s what the 18-45 yr old watch. A few less repeats wouldn’t go astray on both ABC & channel 24. Michelle don’t even try to become a commercial channel or else you may as well go work for another channel.

  5. Maureen  

    News, current affairs, Q & A, Lateline – where would we be without them? Less of those ridiculous supposedly funny and /or risque shows more suitable to the commercial channels would be great. The ABC keeps us sane. There’s enough nonsense on the other channels for whoever wants to watch them. Without the ABC, the general intelligence of the Aust. community would be dumbed down even more than it is at present. And what about Four Corners? Clearly we need it as governments interest is apparently not ‘piqued’ enough to discover what is going on under its watch!

  6. Sue  

    Leave my ABC alone. All of the above programs are my favourites. Where else can I get them, unless I have Foxtel/Austar?

  7. Dennis Redman  

    Leave the ABC alone – The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries are both class acts!

    • Janine  

      Oh! Dennis you’re SO correct! Love ’em!

      Have enjoyed ‘Indian Summers’, too. Hope ABC buys Series 2!

  8. Eleanor  

    The ABC used to be amazing. I watched little else. The dramas and current affairs shows were excellent. Now I watch only the News, Barracuda and Scott & Bailey. Current Affairs shows show real bias and where the ABC used to air all views and give equal time to everyone’s points of view, they don’t now. That being said, the commercial channels have too much sentimentality in their current affairs and mostly they too are pushing their own barrow. Thank goodness for Foxtel and BBC First Channel for great drama, and also Netflix.

    • Lyn Smith  

      The commercial channels are nit biased? Just watch the morning shows on them for the blatant right wing shock jocks and commentators. We who do not want to watch the rubbish on commercial tv need the ABC.
      Leave our ABC alone. If the new nanager wants to tinker with and update programs, she should go to Channel 9.

  9. Anna Kudray  

    I stand with the other posters who have said to leave our ABC alone. I thoroughly enjoy watching shows such as The Bill, Murder She Wrote, New Tricks, Scott & Bailey, Midsomer Murders, and Doc Martin. No matter how many times they are repeated, I always notice something that I had missed previously. As for keeping up with news of the day, ABC24 is always hours ahead of any of the commercial stations and covers items more thoroughly. Programs including Four Corners, Q&A, Foreign Correspondent and The Drum are informative and appeal to teenagers too! I, for one, am not interested in watching Reality Shows or American talk-shows that are found on the commercial stations – the ABC is fine, just the way it is. What is so wrong with catering to the young ones and over 45s? That is why we watch it!

  10. veronica cheeseman  

    Leave the ABC alone…..all the other channels have such rubbish on that you only need the mentality of a monkey to watch, and even that’s stretching it…I watch the ABC news every morning and the presenters are so lovely, have a few laughs, but not hysterically, like 7 and 9. and are INTELLIGENT! I love Q&A, Four Corners etc., but not keen at all on that silly Checkout…but that said, THE ABC is the best.

  11. Leave the ABC alone. Over 45’s watch the ABC as the commercial channels are programmed with mindless drivel, boring, rubbish. The ABC has CLASS news, current affairs, domestic & BBC drama & crime shows, Landline for Regional viewers, and the list goes on. Michelle you are THE WRONG PERSON to guide the future direction of OUR ABC.

    • Janis  

      Leave the ABC alone.

      SBS caters for all other nationalities’ excellently.

      Hey Guthrie, what’s the big push to cater to minorities’, & 18-45’s?

      Stick to what you’re SUPPOSED to do, as to the reason the ABC was established.
      You’ll lose audience if you start being a smarta@&$, & not looking after the age group which is ABC’s ‘bread & butter’.

      I, for one, will be very, very angry, & switch off your Channel quickly, IF the two marvellously entertaining series’ in ‘Dr Blake’, & ‘Miss Fisher’ respective ‘Mysteries’ are cancelled due ‘lack of funds’, ie funds being given to uninteresting, & worthless projects that nobody wants to watch, especially the later years’ viewers’.

      There’s a saying: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
      Get my drift, Guthrie?

  12. Pam .turner  

    The ABC is leaving good journalism behind.

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