In July of 2023 the Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported that less than 8% of the ABC's 7pm bulletin program's audience was under the age of 40. Reportedly the ABC's executive team has been concerned by this finding with one senior ABC staffer describing this audience as "the grey-BC."
Internal data showed that on June 26th, more than 900,000 viewers watched the ABC's 7pm bulletin. Of this audience, those aged 18-24 and 25-39 accounted for only 1% and 5% respectively. Similarly, even including viewership on the ABC's video-on-demand iView service, more than 70% of the viewers for the Q&A and Insiders programs are over the age of 55.
These numbers speak to a downward trend over the past several years. According to the ABC's Annual Report for 2022, the audience for the 7pm bulletin that year totalled 923,000, which was already a 6% decline on the previous year. The ABC News Australia's YouTube channel has seen similar trends, with total channel views declining 17% from 2019-2020 (8,767,000) to 2020-2021 (7,241,000), despite a 25% increase in subscribers over the same period.
The AFR posited that the ABC is not alone in seeing a decline in younger audiences over the past decade, as this market continues to shift towards streaming platforms such as Netflix and YouTube.
A spokesman for the ABC stated that:
"The audience for news on digital platforms is younger and has grown strongly in recent years. The ABC is the second-highest digital news service in Australia and reaches significant numbers of young Australians.”