$158m funding boost for SBS

SBS has received an additional $158.1m in funding and will launch a new Indigenous channel in the second half of 2012.

SBS has received an additional $158.1 million over five years in the Federal Budget and will launch a new Indigenous free-to-air television channel in the second half of 2012.

The funding represents a 27% increase on SBS’s base Government funding over the next four years.

The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said, “In an increasingly multicultural society, the Australian Government recognises SBS as one of Australia’s most important institutions.

“This represents the most significant funding boost SBS has ever had, and will ensure SBS can continue to provide a unique broadcasting service that includes comprehensive television, radio and online services.

“Like other broadcasters, SBS operates in a rapidly changing broadcasting landscape, which is being affected by the introduction of digital multi-channels, new digital platforms, and changing audience expectations.”

“This additional funding will allow SBS to address its immediate financial pressures, adapt to the changing media environment and build or upgrade its technology capabilities.

“The independent production sector will also benefit from this funding boost as SBS continues to work with Australia’s creative industries to commission, produce, and acquire innovative, high quality, and unique programming.”

SBS will also establish a free-to-air national Indigenous television channel in the second half of 2012.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said: “In this Budget we’ve secured the funding SBS needs to be sustainable and to position for the future. The funding increase will offset the slower growth in commercial revenues experienced by SBS, in line with trends across the media industry.

“It’s the most significant funding boost SBS has ever received, and will support our work in developing news and content that breaks down language barriers and inspires and connects communities.

“Importantly, it will allow for the creation of a national free-to-air service to broadcast dedicated news and other programs about and produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

“SBS is honoured and excited to be delivering this new service which will vastly increase the opportunity for the telling of stories from and by Indigenous communities, and make those stories more accessible to audiences across the country.”

From July 1 this year, NITV will be maintained on existing platforms and a new national Indigenous free-to-air service will be launched in late 2012. When the new channel is launched, it will be broadcast on a national free-to-air digital spectrum.

Disclaimer: David Knox blogs Eurovision at sbs.com.au

12 Responses

  1. Surely it would make sense to make Indigenous programming and then for it to be shown in primetime on SBS1 where it would get a better audience reach. I agree that Indigenous voices need to heard but worry about the quality of a 24/7 television service given that the money given to SBS will not go far over five years. Happy bean counting.

  2. the amount allocated to NITV represents a “steady as she goes” approach from government ie no increase to it’s commitment on an annual basis since 2007. is it strange that SBS gets 5yr funding commitment but NITV only 4yr?

    as for the future of NITV, expect it to be sucked up and absorbed by the SBS machine. as David pointed out, it cannot exist in it’s current form – over the next year or two, it will lose it’s independence, it’s voice, and ultimately it’s purpose. the same thing happened to SBS’s Indigenous TV unit, rolled into the News portfolio and never heard from again.

    sad that another wonderful potential opportunity for Indigenous Australians like NITV will once again fail due to lack of reasonable support from govt, and feasible vision by it’s board members. a traditional FTA Indigenous channel does not make sense, commercially or politically.

  3. I’m glad they are getting more funding. Although I’ll admit I wish they could air BBC World News on one of their spare channels for those without Pay TV. So there’s a limited National (ABC News 24 ) and an International news option.

  4. Do we really need another indigenous channel? We have NITV on Foxtel, just make it available on FTA too and let SBS use the available channel space for foreign films, or something.

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