The ABC is the most trusted international media in the Pacific
26 Mar 2024|

Research conducted last year across six key Pacific markets confirms that overall the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is performing strongly among Pacific audiences, a significant achievement given a decline in audiences for traditional media. An important finding is that trust in the ABC across the Pacific is equal to trust levels in Australia, at nearly 80%.    

In 2023 the ABC repeated its 2021 survey in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The aim of the ongoing research is to ensure that the ABC’s investments in the Pacific are effective and that its content and services are meeting audience needs. The survey was conducted by an independent research agency with expertise in the region and in accordance with international standards. 

The research looked at usage patterns relating to ABC Australia, ABC Radio Australia, ABC digital and social media channels, broader media consumption, and attitudes to ABC programs and Australia more generally. The findings, building on 2021 benchmarks, are robust and informative. 

Between 36% and 70% of those surveyed had listened to, watched or used ABC online in the prior three months. Respondents widely agreed that the ABC was educational, interesting and a trusted source of news and information. The ABC is highly regarded, especially for ABC news and current affairs and for targeted local-interest programming, while interest in Australian people and content is positive, high and growing.  

Digital media platforms are increasingly popular as ways to access ABC content. A very high number of those surveyed—between 67% and 98% of those who interacted with the ABC—reported that they did so through online platforms.  

Traditional media consumption still dominates, however, and the majority of those using the ABC online are also users of traditional radio and television. But the technological trends are clear: household ownership of radios and televisions is generally in decline while newspapers are increasingly read on line.  

An important measure of the impact of the of ABC in the region is its ranking against heavyweight international broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN and national broadcasters from France, Japan, New Zealand and China. In all markets the ABC was the most valued and preferred broadcaster frequented via websites, apps or social media, except in Fiji, where Al Jazeera was most preferred.  

Interest in Australia, the Australian people and Australian perspectives remain very high across the region. In fact, the appeal of Australian content has notably grown since the 2021 survey.  

Beyond the clear appeal of general ABC news and current affairs, programs doing particularly well include music and sport shows designed specifically for Pacific audiences.   

On ABC Australia TV, ABC news content dominates interaction and appeal. The ABC’s flagship Pacific program is The Pacific. It was produced in response to earlier research that showed Pacific audience hunger for news and current affairs with a Pacific focus. Since launching in 2020 That Pacific Sports Show has also rapidly increased its viewership and popularity. The ABC’s Australian Football League coverage and Gardening Australia are also popular across the region. 

Most-liked radio programs include Island Music (introduced 2021), the longstanding Pacific Beat, Stories from the Pacific (from 2023) and Sistas Let’s Talk (introduced in 2021). This indicates that the ABC’s recent programming strategies are well targeted and well received. 

The results confirm the value of regular benchmark surveys to ensure the independent ABC adapts and thrives in the Pacific as a representative of a democratic, friendly and trustworthy Australia. And they validate the government’s increased investment in the ABC as part of a broader strategy to promote shared interests within a peaceful, prosperous and resilient Pacific region.