Commercial networks want more Eurovision, less Brooklyn Nine-Nine on SBS.
Commercial networks want new rules surrounding SBS and ABC charters.
Free TV Australia has lodged a submission the Competitive Neutrality Inquiry Panel calling for more of Eurovision, which is good news for SBS hoping to stage Eurovision Asia, but less Batman and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
The commercial networks are targeting the Charters of the public broadcasters which they argue has encroached upon their commercial terrain at the same time as the advertising market has diminished and global players such as Netflix, Facebook and Google rise.
“Like most Australians, we value our national broadcasters. They have an important role in our media landscape,” said Mitchell.
“However, over the last 5 years SBS TV has moved away from its principal role as a multicultural broadcaster. Much of its programming is now indistinguishable from the existing commercial networks.”
Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said “Independent analysis has confirmed that of the top 150 shows across SBS One, SBS VICELAND and SBS Food Network, over 55 per cent was commercial content unaligned with their Charter.
“We need less Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Batman and more Eurovision and Kabul Kitchen.
“That’s why we need greater regulatory oversight by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to ensure that our national broadcasters remain distinctive, deliver on their charters and do not duplicate commercial services. But more importantly deliver the public policy outcomes they were set up for.”
SBS has long argued the ‘cultural’ in ‘multi-cultural’ extends to more than ethnicity, to include other cultures (gay, youth, disabled, etc.) and that broadly-appealing content helps revenue to re-invest in local content.
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid last year told Senate Estimates, “….we do from time to time acquire broader content so that we can attract a broader audience and cross-promote other pieces of content that are more Charter-aligned, if you like. We’ve been doing it for years, but now that we are doing it online the only reason for complaints is because of Nine’s ownership of Stan, effectively.
However SBS has also come under criticism for multi-lingual content being increasingly pushed out of primetime.
Free TV is proposing a new requirement would be introduced for SBS to take account of the services provided by the commercial sector with ACMA to report on the performance of the national broadcasters in delivering on their charters.
Free TV has also wants the ABC and SBS Codes of Practice to be registered by the ACMA in the same way as the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.
“We have recommended that the Panel reinforce the crucial role that national broadcasters play in the lives of Australians. Our proposals are absolutely focussed on that,” said Fair.
“All Australians need strong and vibrant national broadcasters that deliver strongly on their existing charter obligations.”
The government agreed to the inquiry as part of One Nation backing Media Reforms last year.
No word on whether Free TV want to see funding increased for Eurovision Asia, which was due last year.