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SBS: “we will significantly scale back” future plans

Shaun Brown responds to the budget outcome for SBS, which fell far short of its desired target.

sbs-id4SBS says it will scale back planned services across television, radio and online after last night’s Federal Budget.

The broadcaster will receive $20m in additional funding over three years with $4 million in 2009-10, $5 million in 2010-11 and $11 million in 2011-12. But it had been seeking $70m for each year to realise its desire of four channels and nine digital radio channels.

In addition it will have to find around $4 million worth of savings SBS will need to make over the next three years.

SBS was also looking to increase the levels of in-language content on television, radio and online plus English language tuition and in-language children’s programming.

Managing Director Shaun Brown welcomed the funding but warned it is not enough to deliver on its future needs.

“Unfortunately, this outcome comes after years of financial neglect. SBS has not had a significant investment in its content and services for three triennia at least. At the same time costs have risen and the expectations on SBS to perform as a modern media organisation have increased dramatically.

“SBS has also been feeling the effects of the economic downturn and is predicting a significant shortfall in commercial revenue in the next financial year. Coupled with only a modest injection to our triennial funding, it will be difficult to continue to deliver the services Australian audiences expect and deserve,” he said.

“SBS will try hard to preserve its core services and has already committed to launching its digital channel SBS TWO on 1 June, but other planned services across television, radio and online will have to be significantly scaled back.”

12 Responses

  1. @ Stan,

    Eat Carpet was not simply rebranded. the short films are far less experimental.
    I did see the replacement Movie Show, with Fernella Kernabone and Megan Spencer and thought it was ok. Then they replaced it with a shocking filler. SBS inedependant is gone as is its process for commissioning shows. it was once arms length of manegement and marketing. Now its all the same. I like the Gruen Transfer, a genuineley good program. Yes World News Australia is lightended up with its format and cross promotion.

  2. @Byron

    Deal with it? what kind of response is that? “The reason it is still going like it is” going like what? it is dumbed down and not performing its service properly. I guess you would stick up for Telstra too. SBS used to be a place to watch movies, in their entirety, uncut and undisturbed by advertsing. The purest film experience on the TV. It strived for cutting edge with programs like Alchemy. Showed forriegn language programs that were unique like the Kingdom. Had real film critics talk about cinema in a serious way. These things are gone. My points are valid and so are the other people on here who have similar concerns. If they are so tight for money they shouldnt have rebranded so many times recently or commission unjustifiable failures like Aussie Top Gear. The fact is people are not happy and there is talk of change at the top. There is rustling for a new direction because the current one is concidered a not good enough.

  3. Whilst taxpayers should welcome any funding boosts to our public broadcasters (whom we ultimately help fund ans watch), SBS seems to have failed to prove it deserves extra funding. When SBS started, it was a niche broadcaster screening programs for our ever expanding multicultural society. As time has passed, it has more and more english-language programs than ever (we already have 6 other FTA channels with that) and less programs from it ‘s original charter. How can it continue to justify the huge spend on Top Gear Oz, when it has a 2/3 the audience of even reruns of the cheaper to screen, original version, for example?? As well as other, less than broad appealing programs such as Swift and Shift couriers, etc?? If it can show that SBS2 and SBS1 have a clear charter of programs, than maybe future funding may be more assured…

  4. @Mike Retter deal with it. things have changed. the changes the other year are one of the few reasons SBS is still going like it is.

    the channel is now much better than it was pre-brown.
    it’s opened it up to so many more people so used to see it as a place only for foreign news and soft porn on fridays.

  5. They do not deserve anything more. They act like Telstra. They cant walk both sides of the street. On one hand they said F/U to the loyal audience with ad breaks and axing shows and yet they want more public funding. Well I am going to enjoy the Managements death of a thousand cuts because they treeted the audiences concerns of changes with contepmt. Listen MR Brown, we the viewers own SBS and we want something special. What you have done is spoil something special that people cared about. You can go and shove your dymocks voice over ads…

  6. In this economical climate SBS should be at the bottom of the list for additional funding. The World News Channel caters to a minority of a minority – e.g. people who can speak Japanese and who have any interest in domestic Japanese news. 4 TV and 9 radio channels? I think not. from my taxpaying dollars. As in Thailand, if you want to watch foreign news, subscribe – to UBI.
    As for introducing “English language tuition”, what ever happened to SBS original “English language tuition” programming, like “You Say the Word”? Where are the free “English language tuition” programs available to SBS such as “Crossroads Cafe” & “Connect With English” from VOATV? Available free, FOC, gratis.

  7. Boo hoo, SBS wants all the benefits of being a commercial free-to-air station but on Government coin. Could be time to sell South Park to Ch10 to pay for all those exciting multi-lingual digital radio stations!

  8. I think SBS was aiming a little 2 high. 4 Tv channels and 9 didgital radio channels, it’s a bit rich if you ask me, especially when the money is needed more desperately elsewhere.
    However, I do think its good they’ve got some extra funding, and support the launch of a 2nd SD channel because I think it is necessary to cater to the foreign languages market over here.
    I for one can say that when I was in thailand a couple of years ago, i was glad to find a few english channels on their cable selection, because you start to miss your own culture. So it’s good they’re helping out in that way.
    I guess if they want more money they could potentially increase ads.

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