Govt dumps bill to increase primetime ads on SBS

Plans to increase the amount of ads in primetime on SBS have been shelved once again after the government decided not to proceed with a Bill.

It is the second time the plan has been thwarted, first by a vote against it and now by a decision not to proceed.

But it will leave a whopping hold in SBS revenue, of around $27 million. Hopes to push more ads into primetime to attract more lucrative advertising were floated to address government cuts under the Abbott govt.

A spokesperson for SBS told TV Tonight, “SBS welcomed the $8.8 million in funding reinstated for 2017/18 as part of this year’s Federal Budget. Now that the legislation has been withdrawn, SBS will continue to work with government to ensure that we are adequately funded to continue providing valuable programs and services to Australia’s diverse society.”

Opponents against more advertising welcomed the move, including former SBS World News Australia presenter, Mary Kostakidis who joined with lobby group Save Our SBS.

“We are pleased the government has listened to SBS viewers; all were strongly opposed to the Bill,” she said.

“We now call on the custodians of SBS to also take note of viewer concerns and wipe out in-program commercial breaks. The idea that a public broadcaster should emulate commercial television is a destructive policy.

“The focus of SBS should now be returned to fulfilling its Charter obligations, not pursuing the commercial path.”


  1. Secret Squïrrel

    It’s a shame that these people who claim to be trying to save SBS are unable to see the connection between advertisement placement and the revenue which buys the programs that they presumably watch. It’s like they want to have their cake and eat it too.

  2. I don’t know why the other political parties and interest groups have their knickers in a knot about this – it’s not actually an increase in total advertising, just more flexibility to generate higher revenue.

    I still don’t see why SBS needs to be a separate organisation, significant savings would be found if it was made part of the ABC. It would seem to me that having two separately funded and run public television networks is inefficient – I’m not sure if any other comparable countries do it this way?

    • timmydownawell

      New Zealand had two national government owned networks that ran separately and competed against each other until 1980, when prime minister Rob Muldoon merged them into TVNZ. Under the following Labour government, TVNZ became a “state owned enterprise” (SOE) that was expected to run at a profit and pay dividends to the government, so all the TVNZ channels these days are fully commercial. Careful what you wish for.

    • gbc_6 The UK has two publicly owned TV networks – the BBC and Channel 4 which is advertiser funded and has cultural diversity as part of its remit. Germany has a national public broadcaster, regional public broadcasters and a cultural public broadcaster that they share with France (who also has a larger part-advertiser funded public broadcaster). Canada has a national public broadcaster, regional public broadcasters and an Aboriginal public broadcaster. So yeah, it happens 😉

  3. This is such a shame. SBS has some of the best programs on the box and needs more funding. Chefs Line, First Contact and Go Back are some of the best shows in TV.

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