Online bosses speak out on ABC hyperlocal sites

REGIONAL newspapers have hit back against the threat from a proposed roll-out of localised ABC news websites, The Australian reported.

Representatives from the digital arms of APN News & Media and Fairfax Media warned of the possible commercial competition the hyperlocal sites could put up against their current properties, in a mirror image of the situation in the UK where the BBC was forced to scrap its own plans for a network of more than 60 sites.

Warren Lee of APN Online said: “You’re not dealing with markets that are massive or that have millions of dollars. The danger is that [the proposed ABC network] sucks the oxygen out of the marketplace for private investors.”

Fairfax Digital’s Jack Matthews said: “Clearly we, like most commercial folks, would have mixed views. I think the Government needs to be careful not to use taxpayers’ dollars to compete with commercial operators in the marketplace.”

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