Government review suggests a paid subscription model for ABC iView

ABC iView for iOS
Would you be ok with a paywalled ABC iView?

A government-backed review into the financial efficiency of the ABC and SBS is reportedly suggesting Aussies pay to access certain parts of ABC iView content.

The Abbott-led government announced the ABC and SBS Efficiency Study earlier this year, but the contents of this review, which is being headed by former Seven West Media CFO Peter Lewis, hasn't yet been made public.

The Sydney Morning Herald, however, is today reporting that part of the executive summary of the review suggests a subscription model that would have Australians paying to access "archived programs and special content" through ABC iView.


The success of ABC iView has been rather costly for the public broadcaster. It revealed last year that growing traffic has meant that the company pays for the cost of hosting its library of on-demand videos, as well as a certain amount every time a video is played by a user.

ABC's Director of Television Richard Finlayson said at the time that the content distribution network it uses costs "in the millions", but he also said that countering these costs through subscription or pay-per-view options was not being considered at the time.

The review's suggestion of a subscription would help these costs, and could also help supplement declining CD, DVD and Blu-ray sales.

The review reportedly also suggests that the ABC and SBS share the same catch-up service, and lifting some restrictions on the advertising criteria for the SBS.

While these are recommendations for the government to put in place, it doesn't mean that these will be implemented.