SBS preparing to double advertising and slash services

In a recent Politics in the Pub talk by public broadcasting advocate Quentin Dempster, the extent of government cuts to the ABC and SBS were outlined. Whilst his talk was mainly about the ABC, chunks of it covered the impact of cuts to the SBS. The cuts are a result of the Communications Department’s Efficiency Study into SBS & the ABC conducted earlier this year. Here is an edited version of his talk – the sections that deal mainly with SBS.

The ABC and SBS are in no man’s land at the

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Liberal Party donor appointed as SBS Chairman

Nihal Gupta is the new Chairman of SBS. He takes over more than six months after Jo Skrzynski concluded his five year term.

For more than a week it was understood that Gupta would fill the vacancy of Chairman. Gupta, widely reportedly a donor to the Liberal Party, is understood not to have been the first choice nor made it onto the Nomination Panel’s short list of recommendations.

Other than the Managing Director, who is appointed by the Board, the SBS Chairman and Directors are required to be appointed under a merit based system

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Ads to double in SBS primetime

Moves are afoot that could see advertising soon double in primetime programs on SBS but government taking the proceeds of the extra revenue from the increased ads as a payment in efficiency dividends.

Effectively, the current cap of five minutes advertising per hour will increase to 10 minutes.

But an increase in one hour will mean a decrease elsewhere. ‘Ad averaging’, as it is called, is a possible outcome of the Communications Department’s Efficiency Study into SBS that was conducted earlier this year. A draft copy of the Study has been given to SBS.

Currently, SBS retains all

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SBS-ABC merger cuts $43.5m

SBS will have its annual funding cut by $2m each year for the next four years while the ABC will face cuts in the order of $9m per year. Both broadcasters will merge their "back office" operations and eight people at the ABC will lose their jobs as a result. The Budget papers show no reduction in SBS staffing levels.

The cuts to be shared by SBS and the ABC total $43.5m over four years which is equal to a one per cent reduction in base government funding of the ABC

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New Codes defy SBS community

When SBS released their new Codes of Practice at the end of February, they ignored 90 percent of viewers by refusing to include SBS’s definition of a natural break, the insertion of commercial breaks into TV programs.

The Codes are supposed to outline the practices and principles the broadcaster follows in consideration of community concerns and the SBS Charter. Should the Codes be breached, a viewer may take a complaint to the regulator, the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA). But ACMA has no power to review any guidelines that are

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Efficiency study of SBS

The Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has announced an enquiry into the national broadcasters. The ABC and SBS Efficiency Study will not review the broadcasters’ charters, or its editorial and programming decisions.

The study, to be conducted by the Department of Communications, will conclude in April and the findings given to the Minister. The SBS Chairman will also receive a copy.

The last departmental review of SBS was the ABC SBS Review which allowed direct input from the public.

The current study will include a review of advertising on SBS and operational, governance, structural, financial and

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Précis of a study of 2044 viewers of SBS television on advertising, Charter, relevance and other matters

Earlier this year, Save Our SBS undertook a study of 2044 viewers of SBS television. Those studied came from every State and Territory. More than a third were not born in Australia. The findings of the study form part of a detailed submission to the SBS Community Advisory Committee & the SBS Board. The full submission may be read in HTML or PDF format. Five recommendations are made.

The study found that SBS had not been inclusive of a significant portion of its television (SBS ONE & TWO) audiences, giving preference to advertisers over audiences.

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