AIDC 2021: Why SBS loves hosts

A well-known presenter can bring more than just insight to a documentary for SBS.

Noni Hazlehurst, Justine Clarke and Indira Naidoo have all fronted recent documentaries on SBS, which is proving a winning formula for the public broadcaster.

SBS Head of Documentaries, Joseph Maxwell said, “When we have a presenter they can become a lynchpin for Publicity, be that on radio, other networks -and often we do get on other networks with our publicity.

“That gives us greater exposure and coverage. So there is that advantage with a presenter as well, of course, the authority they bring and insight they bring into that subject.”

Upcoming doco presenters include Celia Pacquola, Dr. Michael Mosely, Jess Hill and Rachel Perkins.

Speaking at the Australian International Documentary Conference yesterday, Maxwell said SBS is on the hunt for stripped documentaries which typically screen as an ‘event’ at 8:30 across Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday in a single week.

“Why we want them is they create a real moment in the schedule. They are a week where we can concentrate on one big theme. They generate debate, numbers and impact,” he explained.

Maxwell noted social themed documentaries perform well with younger viewers.

“After Filthy, Rich and Homeless, we did some extraordinary research that showed that 60% of people who watch that either changed their opinion, or their actions towards homelessness as a result of watching that show.

“We see the shows as ones that can define the channel: Go Back to Where You Came From, First Contact, Filthy Rich & Homeless.

“With these, there’s a clear device that gives us a drama, that gives us an insight. That’s something that is interesting. It provides natural hooks that mean across three nights it can hold and it can sustain. But as we’ve seen with other documentaries -Struggle Street, Addicted -an observational documentary can also work really well.”

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