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 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.”