CBC, ABC Australia deepen collaboration through MOU pact

Catherine Tait
The pubcasters say the co-development and co-financing partnership will allow them to maximize their resources in a challenging landscape.

As public broadcasters the world over grapple with the challenges of fulfilling public policy mandates while also competing with global-facing content companies, the CBC and Australia’s ABC have struck a strategic alliance they say will allow them to pool resources and co-develop and co-finance more ambitious content.

The pubcasters on Monday unveiled a freshly minted Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Banff World Media Festival (BANFF). Under the three-year pact, the pair will jointly develop English-language drama, comedy, factual, children’s programming and podcasts. The agreement also includes opportunities for co-financing and format sales of drama and children’s projects.

On the children’s content front, the broadcasters also said they have a pair of series in development, one aimed at two-to-six-year-olds and the other at eight-to-14-year-olds. As well, ABC has acquired the CBC original series Big Blue (Guru Studio), as well as CBC copros Kiri and Lou and the upcoming sci-fi epic Endlings (Sinking Ship).

While CBC has previously worked closely with ABC, this is the first time it has signed a formal MOU agreement with a foreign pubcaster. CBC previously picked up the broadcast rights to ABC programs Ronny Chieng: International Student, Mustangs FC, Hannah Gadsby’s Nakedy Nudes, Hannah Gadsby’s Oz and the format rights to the ABC’s original series You Can’t Ask That. A Canadian version of the latter series launches on CBC’s Gem streaming service later this month.

Elsewhere, the MOU also calls for employee exchanges, the sharing of technology and tools to improve tracking and verification of the accuracy of news content, collaboration between the pubcasters’ respective podcasting divisions and the co-development of a media literacy initiative to equip schools and educators across both countries with the analytical skills and tools to combat misinformation.