Fund the ABC, or the pig goes
In an animated senate estimates hearing, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott said he couldn't guarantee Peppa Pig would be safe from budget cuts.PT1M14S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-393zx 620 349 May 28, 2014
Is the beloved Peppa Pig bound for the Abbottoir?
The UK program is the No.1 downloaded children's show on ABC's iView and attracts about 2 million views a month, but the Abbott government budget cuts have forced the public broadcaster to look across its operations for savings.
In a moment of humour during a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday, ABC managing director Mark Scott was put on the spot about the beloved children's animation.
Future doubts? ABC children's show Peppa Pig.
Scott said the corporation had contracts in place to continue Peppa Pig in the immediate future, but things were muddier down the track.
"The services we provide depend on the funding envelope," he said when asked about Peppa Pig's future.
Peppa Pig's programming was brought up by Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who jokingly asked if Peppa Pig would be safe from conservatives "concerned about her dangerous feminist ideology".
Columnist Piers Ackerman used an article in 2013 to accuse the program of pushing "a weird feminist line".
Mr Scott offered as a jest to send committee chairman and Nationals Senator John Williams DVDs of the show for his education.
Senator Williams replied: "My brother and I are former pig farmers. I've seen enough of pigs."
Earlier in the hearing, Mr Scott warned programming cuts were likely but refused to be definitive about the specifics of potential cuts except to say that it could be to dramas.
"The easiest levers to pull in budget cuts are programming cuts - to cut a drama series and save millions of dollars with one decision," he said.
He said the amount of efficiencies the ABC could retain from the government would be pivotal in the programs they could afford.
"I don’t want (to cut dramas)," he said. "But I can’t give any guarantees."
Recent locally-made ABC dramas include: Redfern Now, The Time of Our Lives, Old School and Rake.
Scott said that $40 million worth of efficiencies had already been found and reinvested back to the public benefit. Sooner or later, however, the broadcaster would reach "the end of the efficiency road", he said.
AAP, with Aja Styles