ABC Head of Online and Multiplatform to depart
Arul Baskaran, Head of Online and Multiplatform, has advised he is leaving the ABC to pursue new opportunities in digital media.
Baskaran was instrumental in launching iview, Australia’s first on-line TV catch-up service which remains the country’s leading video-on-demand platform to this day.
[As IF has reported, the ABC has named former Foxtel and Austar exec Rebecca Heap as head of TV strategy and digital products.]
Under his stewardship, iview has seen dramatic growth both in content and audience uptake. The number of monthly visitors has grown from 122,000 in 2008 to more than 1.3 million today, and the service has expanded from a single website to 13 platforms including tablets and mobile, gaming consoles and connected TV devices. In the last three years monthly program plays have grown from 3.5 million to more than 19.5 million, and according to Nielson Online, this makes iview Australia’s most widely used internet TV service.
Recently Baskaran played a key role in commissioning ABC’s first ‘straight to on-demand’ programs for iview, including the Fresh Blood comedy initiative in partnership with Screen Australia, the post-apocalyptic web series Wastelander Panda, and Noirhouse, a web festival-winning comedy.
He was also responsible for ABC TV’s kids’ digital properties, overseeing the development of the ABC3 and ABC4Kids portals and commissioning a range of games, interactive content and apps for program brands including Play School, Bananas in Pyjamas, Giggle and Hoot,Dance Academy and Nowhere Boys, several of which have been recognized with international awards.
“It’s been a privilege to work at the ABC and to lead our digital expansion, especially with iview which is now a household name in Australia,” said Baskaran. “I’ve had the chance to head an exceptional team working on innovative products and I look forward to the next challenge,” he says.
ABC’s Director of Television, Richard Finlayson, said: “After nearly a decade with the ABC, Arul’s contribution to the growth of iview has been simply outstanding. He has grown a market-leading platform from virtually nothing to one that supports more than 200 million views a year and he leaves the ABC ideally positioned for the next phase of digital transformation. We wish him every success in his future ventures.”