SBS to launch World Movies multichannel

SBS will launch a new World Movies multichannel on Channel 32 on July 1st.

The new channel will feature more than 700 films. At least half the titles on the channel will be in a language other than English, and featuring everything from European arthouse films to the best of Bollywood cinema, romantic comedies to anime, award-winning favourites, acclaimed new releases, and more.

SBS Managing Director, James Taylor, said: “Movies provide people with the opportunity to escape to worlds outside of our own, with stories that entertain and inspire us, make us think, laugh and even cry. International cinema does this in a truly unique way, and has been an important part of SBS’s offering for decades, giving Australians the opportunity to delve into cultures through cinematic masterpieces captivating audiences around the world.

“People come to SBS for content they don’t find anywhere else. SBS World Movies has a proud tradition of showcasing the best international films, reflecting the diversity of global cinema, and we’re excited to further evolve this offering and make it available to all Australians for free this July.”

Films will include Amanda (France), The 12th Man (Norway), Just A Breath Away (France), Ash is the Purest White (China), Aligarth (India), Girl (Belgium), Killing of a Sacred Deer (UK), and many more. Launch titles will be announced in the coming weeks.

SBS World Movies will also feature curated seasons of special programming to mark cultural events, festivals and celebrations such as Diwali, Lunar New Year, International Women’s Day and Mardi Gras.

Each week, the schedule will feature a Women in Film double-bill of female filmmakers and lead actors, as well as Festival Favourites and Emerging Territories, showcasing films from far-flung locations.

The new multichannel follows lobby group Save Our SBS making a submission to the SBS Board calling for a foreign language channel.

In its submission the group indicated the two most desired program types in peak viewing are foreign language movies (subtitled) scoring 77%, and foreign language TV series (subtitled) scoring 58% .

It called for predominately subtitled imported movies spoken in Language Other than English (LOTE) and subtitled imported television series spoken in LOTE.

“The mere act of screening TV content in LOTE from a range of countries will culturally connect those born in Australia with immigrants and their families, one to the other, with a rich and deep understanding of each other. This is the very essence of what leads to a sense of belonging and informs social cohesion. A free-to-air LOTE channel as described will enable SBS to build understanding, inclusion and cohesion within the Australian polyglot society,” it said in its submission.

SBS will be the only Free to Air broadcaster with 3 x HD channels. Channel 32 is currently home to SBS VICELAND in standard definition (Channel 31 has VICELAND in high definition).  It will also be available on SBS On Demand.

World Movies previously operated as a Pay TV channel.


  1. Excellent news – as long as there are no advertisements interrupting the movies! I will sometimes record and watch SBS & SBS Viceland (fast forwarding through the ads), but will never watch a movie with ads in it.

  2. I will look with interest to see if this revived ‘World Movies’ channel will follow the Foxtel example which had an adult movies night, though without foxtel’s parental lockout, which was a bit of a joke anyway, the well known offerings would no doubt be edited and cropped a bit too much.

        • They still haven’t added Viceland HD to their terrestrial-enabled boxes (IQ3, IQ4), which is really dragging the chain. Time to move to Fetch Mighty, if you haven’t already.

          • Yeah I have a Fetch Mighty already, haven’t had Foxtel for 15 years or so, only if I do record I only do the ABC on that and the other channels on my Panasonic BluRay/HDD recorder because that has a 60 sec skip button where Fetch doesn’t (most of the Entertainment packages on Fetch have catch-up so rarely record those).

          • i asked about that i have iq2 and was told by foxtel thats its sbs that i have to ask why

        • Not for a while, re foxtel cable being forced onto satelite, 2023 or so I believe. So sbs viceland should and so this new film channel should be offered to cable subscribers.

          • You can get all FTA on IQ4? Just rescan ? Or is that just in certain areas?

          • Yeah the lease with Telstra runs out in 2023, so yes 3 and a half years away yet but still I can’t see them giving more to something that will be around after then. Plus as is the case in my neighbourhood the NBN will be on HFC at the end of May, so at that point of turn-on (which applies to Optus as well).

            “Today, the Cable is gradually being transferred to the ownership of NBN, as each suburb is converted to NBN the company takes ownership and the space inside the cable is split in three. NBN Internet, Bigpond Internet and Foxtel. When the NBN is complete in those neighbourhoods, the space used by Bigpond becomes NBN’s which will provide a more consistent and potentially faster broadband speed capability.”

  3. SBS will have 3 HD channels but the quality will depend on their definition of HD. Switching from MP2 to MP4 does improve picture quality. It’s a good sign that simulcasting in SD is being phased out with SBS leading the way.
    IMO showing movies in their original cinema aspect ratio using “letterbox” provides a better screen image and a more enjoyable viewing experience. The redundant “watermark” is also less intrusive.
    It’s hard to believe that last week the classic “Lawrence of Arabia” was shown in pan/scan format on a SD channel. Nine are also chewing through the Disney back catalogue using SD channels.

  4. Save Our SBS can be proud of this achievement and their lobbying. I am looking forward to seeing French cinema, among films from other foreign countries. SBS had regularly shown French films on weekends. I hope that they show films from the 90s and 00s too along with new releases. Hopefully, they can cater for the more niche styles, such as art films and not only mainstream styles. Directors that come to mind are the likes of Catherine Breillat or Wong Kar-wai.

  5. Agreed aesthetic,I wasn’t expecting this to be happening this quick,especially after only reading about a week ago that this was only a possibility.

  6. Why not make it 100% foreign language?! Do we really need American and British movies on SBS?! how is that adding to our cultural depth? I’m hoping the movies are also not just from western europe. How about Indonesian horror movies?! C’mon SBS, reflect the diversity in our society on our screens

      • On there website it seems it won’t be just LOTE as:

        “The channel will broadcast more than 700 films each year, with international titles including recent award winning and critically acclaimed films such as Amanda (France), The 12th Man (Norway), Just A Breath Away (France, pictured second from left), Ash is the Purest White (China, pictured above left), Aligarh (India, pictured above, right), Girl (Belgium), Killing of a Sacred Deer (UK, pictured above second from right), and many more. Launch titles will be announced in the coming weeks.”

  7. Fantastic to see a FTA with 3 x HD channels. This is what the govt has been asking the industry to do for some time, slowly move towards everything in HD

    It will be better quality online anyway, due to the limited spectrum on FTA and the freedom online gives SBS to use modern codecs such as HEVC

    All those $5,000 plasmas of the early 2000s are long overdue for replacement anyway as we move into the next decade. Let’s get rid of the SD only TVs, STBs, etc.

    Me I watch everything online now. I disabled the FTA tuner on my Sony smart TV and replaced it with “streaming channels” (+ chromecast) last year and haven’t looked back, it’s been great.

    • As an aside if anyone else wants to do that, there are guides online for replacing the FTA tuner with online only on any Android TV box or TV, search youtube for Australia Freeview IPTV channels on Android TV

      • Maybe it can become an election promise and the Shorten Labor Government can give everyone some dollars to buy new TV’s like Rudd did 10 years ago, people could save money on their electricity bill as well if it’s an energy efficient one.

      • *everyone* can afford new flashy tv’s eh? People on centrelink payments like newstart eh? People who are doing it tough can afford to splash out $2000 on a new HD TV? What a load of crap.

      • You don’t need a new TV. Only the device you are using to tune channels.

        These retail for under $50 with recording capabilities etc.

    • Given my NBN fibre-to-the-home was buffering Netflix on Sat. night, was down most of Sunday, and at dial-up speed until 30 mins ago, somehow I think I’ll stick with FTA. And no, I’m not in some very remote region. Illawarra NSW.

    • Over the air broadcasters have a lot to think about in the coming years, their ATSC 1.0 HD broadcast standard will need to be upgraded to ATSC 3.0 for 4K broadcasting and considering how long HD is taking to supersede SD broadcast TV most discerning viewers will be looking for other options to view their entertainment. HDR and SDR streaming technology is definitely becoming a game changer for buyers of the most recent model 4K TV’s, once viewed it’s hard to watch anything else.

      • ATSC isn’t used here. Everything is on DVB-T1. Nevertheless, your wider point is valid, as when you turn to Germany for instance, they were rolling out DVB-T2 and third-generation H.265 codecs as long as 4 years ago. In stores. But to achieve that we would need a fresh spectrum allocation … the only alternative is another decade of limited simulcasting with a main channel in 4K H265. H266 is under development now.

    • You disabled your FTA tuner? Oh gawd, really? The “HD” quality on SBS On Demand is truly pathetic, unless the image isn’t moving much. The broadcast version is still the only one worth watching, and if you have to time-shift it, then do so.

  8. Hopefully they will be shown with adverts just before and after the movies not during.

    Guess SBS have crunched the numbers and the people who watch Viceland do so in HD and the SD channel isn’t needed (or at 1 – 1.5% ratings it doesn’t matter). I know it says these are going to be on SBS On-Demand as well, however I get a feeling I’ll be blowing the cobwebs off my PVR and recording a lot of movies now to watch later.

    • Given the target market of VICE, I can’t imagine there are too many people watching on SD only sets. If you happened to be one of them, you probably have internet access and a chromecast is all you need.

  9. Maev....Sydney

    Wow….SBS already have an amazing collection of movies….in fact I just found Brooklyn today…a lovely movie I recently watched via blu-ray….Loved it….can now watch again…On Demand… ?

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