Mark Scott: present (budget) challenges, future (digital) audiences

“These are uncertain times for the ABC,” Aunty’s managing director told an audience in Melbourne tonight, talking up the efficiencies already found with more cuts to come.

Last Friday night, I had the honour of hosting a ceremony as part of the ABC’s Mental As week. I am sure you’re aware of Mental As and our involvement with it, as it illustrates perfectly the role of the ABC — engaging the community in an issue of national importance, using its storytelling expertise and cross-platform prowess to explain a complex, contemporary issue. No other broadcaster in this country could even attempt such an ambitious exercise.

Public broadcasting has always aspired to inform, to educate and to entertain. I couldn’t be prouder of how we fulfilled that role last week, giving Australians a chance to talk, to seek and to give, creating a platform for a national conversation around mental health. It was the work of a digital-age ABC, the most comprehensive cross-platform content and marketing initiative we have ever undertaken.

Mental As will have had an impact on millions of Australians who watched, listened and engaged online — and on the nation itself.

That has always been the ABC’s way. Part of Australian life, part of the lives of millions of Australians each week. Something that belongs to all Australians, everywhere.

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