Major restructure at Australia’s ABC

The ABC is implementing a wide-ranging restructure that will see all programming responsibility come under the control of a new role, head of audience and digital.

Rebecca HeapRebecca Heap, formerly head of strategy and digital products, will take the role at the Australian public broadcaster.

ABC said the reorganisation was a reaction to ‘dramatic audience behaviour shifts’ and meant it was taking a ‘platform agnostic’ approach to creating and distributing programming.

Creative responsibilities in the news structure will be divided between between the head of non-scripted production and the head of scripted production.

Brendan Dahill, formerly head of programming at ABC, will head-up the non-scripted division. Reporting to him will be Mandy Chang as head of arts, Steve Bibb as head of factual, Jon Casimir as head of entertainment and Justin Holdforth as head of events.

ABC said it is scouting for a head of the scripted division and will be filled on an interim basis by director of television Richard Finlayson. Sally Riley will be head of indigenous content under the new structure, and Rick Kalowski will be head of comedy.

Alistair McKinnon takes an expanded role as deputy head of production, across both drama and unscripted efforts at ABC and will work with Australia’s various regional funding bodies.

Another new, as-yet-unfilled, role will be head of partnerships and policy, taking on some of Rebecca Heap’s former responsibilities.

The head of kids and education role is also yet to be filled, with former kids boss Deidre Brennan recently exiting and now confirmed as kids TV boss at Canadian media giant Corus.

“ABC iview is the number one online TV service in the country,” said Finlayson. “Our audiences are consuming content differently and we need to be programming for the future, now.”

He added: “There is a huge growing demand for high quality, original Australian content. We have an outstanding team. The focus on scripted and non-scripted production recognises the need across these distinct disciplines for concentrated creative firepower, regardless of platform, genre or demographic.”

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