Mark Scott, Managing Director of ABC, at the Future of Media Summit: thoughts on the future of media


The Future of Media Summit 2008 is designed to have a far broader reach and impact than for just those who attend. Part of the way we do this is to get contributions from the speakers beforehand on the Future of Media blog and websites, setting the scene for deeper discussions on the day, and providing context for those who can’t make the Summit.

The CEO Panel on predictions for the future of media will be held at 1:20 – 2:00pm in Sydney, just before the Unconference session, and will be the final session at 8:20 – 9:00pm in Silicon Valley, over drinks. Panelists for this session include Mark Scott, Managing Director of Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Mark’s pre-event contribution is two papers:

* A recent op-ed on the role of the ABC in 2020 that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald.

* The ABC in the digital age – Towards 2020

, about the ABC’s shift to digital media.

The ABC shares with a few other organizations such as the BBC and CBC the special issues of public broadcasters in a rapidly shifting world. The papers describe the evolving role of publicly funded media in a world awash with information, and the steps the ABC will take to fulfill that role, including the new digital channels it will implement.

Below are a few excerpts from the papers that are particularly worth highlighting in the lead-up to the Future of Media Summit:

By 2020, all Australian media will be fighting for time and attention in a market open to the world. Cultural borders will not exist.

We will be saturated with choices about what to watch, listen to and experience; it will be like trying to hold back the ocean with a broom.

In 2020, there will be so many new choices and voices in media – but how many of them will be Australian? Will we be seeing more our own lives reflected – or less? Who will tell the Australian story?

The ABC will. Within this kind of world, it will be up to the ABC to ensure the Australian accent is not lost, and that distinctive local and the national stories about our people and our lives are still told, still screened, still heard.


The Australian media environment in 2020

Confident predictions about the shape of the media in 2020 are difficult, given the pace of technological change, but the following broad trends can be expected:

• Increasing availability of content. Multichannel television and high-speed broadband connectivity provide audiences with exponentially greater choices of media content from providers anywhere in the world, bypassing local content regulation.

• Increased range of media forms and delivery platforms. Audiences expect to access content across an increasing range of devices and contexts.

• Personalised media. Audiences expect increasingly personalised media experiences, including time- and platform-shifting of content consumption.

• Participatory media. A growing proportion of the public is interested in active engagement with media content creation, ranging from voting and forum discussion, through to collaboration in content creation.

• Audience fragmentation. Greater content choice and delivery platforms fragments audiences, but screen-based content delivered free-to-view will continue to aggregate the largest audiences, particularly around major events, sport and high quality entertainment.

• Increasing concentration of media ownership. As the media environment becomes increasingly global and converged, larger media firms seek greater scale.

• Digital production. Low-cost, professional-quality digital production equipment allows cheaper production of content, at the same time as the cost of high-end production increases as major media organisations seek to differentiate their output.