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2 comments to “We Don’t Believe You Shaun”

  • Derek Kell

    We started watching SBS on the first day of its transmission. Nearly all the programmes at that time were sourced from overseas and carried subtitles, but they were really interesting programmes. SBS transmitted on channel 0 in the VHF band in those days. In our part of Sydney the reception was very weak resulting in an unsatisfactory picture which at times was quite difficult to watch. Sometimes we would get a headache from squinting at the subtitles, but we persisted anyway because the programmes were so good. I found the films, especially the ones from France, so very enjoyable. After a while we decided to buy a UHF television in an attempt to get a better picture. This purchase was made solely for the benefit of watching SBS television. Unfortunately it didn’t make a lot of difference so we invested in a better aerial. No improvement. Next a higher mast and a new coax cable were installed. The picture was slightly better but still not as good as the other channels on the VHF bands. Somebody advised us that a signal amplifier might do the trick. The ones we tried only seemed to amplify the interference, so they were discarded. We were resigned to the fact that SBS was always going to have an inferior reception. But we continued to watch it in this condition for many years. We thought SBS programming was wonderful.

    Then along came digital TV. We purchased a set top box. And for the first time we could see SBS properly!! O joy!

    Shortly after that, however, the French films, in fact most of the films, just disappeared. It was like we were being punished for enjoying something so much. It was like it was too good to last.

    When we, the general public – the tax payers funding 80% of his [SBS] station, had the “cheek” to complain that our films have been taken away Mr Shaun Brown resorted to name-calling. He spoke at the National Press Cub. Those at the top of SBS have called us elitist and they don’t want to cater for elitists. Mr Brown wants us to watch the advertisement-and-promo-interrupted-rubbish he puts on because it suits the advertisers.

    Mr Brown doesn’t seem to care about the time, effort and expense that I, and thousands of people like me, went to, to receive an SBS signal in the first place.

  • TVwatcher

    I just read an interview with George Negus, presenter of SBS Dateline in The Age on-line (http://www.theage.com.au/news/tv–radio/negus-fumes-over-sbs-criticism/2007/09/05/1188783247452.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1). I was very disappointed in his attitude about the commercialisation of SBS. However I haven’t seen Dateline for a while. I more or less stopped watching it when SBS began interrupting it for commercial breaks. Probably the quality of the actual program content of Dateline might remain high but I am not prepared to be sold out by Shaun Brown to those dam annoying interruptions for the commercials. From reading the interview with Mr Negus in The Age it seems that he does not think that SBS has been dumbed down or at least he does not know what is meant by the phrase “dumbing down” and he asked “What does it actually mean?” I wonder if George might have missed the point.

    It’s not just the quality of some of the programs that SBS has dumbed down SBS has also been dumbed down by the mere fact that they now interrupt all the TV programs with commercials. It’s unbearable.

    The changes made at the start of this year to World News 6:30 edition – the silly social chit chat and the forced smiles that the presenters seemed to have been told to do; the Movie Show being cut from a quality half hour show to an insulting 12 minute fill in type show being not much more than an advertorial for the program’s web site which is so blatantly cluttered with ads it is actually unreadable.

    I stopped watching World News 6:30 edition a while back. I gave the Movie Show a go for a while after Margaret & David left but when SBS degenerated it into a fill in show I gave up. Now I find I am watching less and less SBS and more and more ABC.

    The overall program line-up is just not as good as it used to be either. It all seemed to begin with the introduction of that very commercial looking program, the Iron Chef. They don’t even subtitle it. It was barely bearable when there no ad breaks in it. Now we have to put up not just with the added hype and annoyance of ad interruptions but also with American dubbed voices instead of SBS subtitles! How cheap and commercial looking and sounding can you get? The recipes might be good but the way SBS presents the Iron Chef has turned me off.

    Where’s the opera? Where are the arts type programs? Has SBS dumped these forever?

    There is now a long list of programs that are just have either been removed, buried in the wrong time slot late at night or are just plain crappy. I think SBS have lost the plot if they want to appeal to a wider audience. I thought that was what the other TV channels were supposed to do, not SBS.

    I really feel quite upset that a handful of people have ‘stolen’ my SBS from us, the public. I don’t care if I’m accused of being elitist. So what? What’s wrong with being elitist anyway? We have boutique clothing shops and other elite things in life. I don’t want to watch crappy commercial type TV.

    Even the quality of the ads on SBS now looks crappy too. The ads on SBS used to be of a higher quality. They were soft sell art style type ads that blended in between programs. Not anymore.

    By the way: I did not switch off SBS when it used to run the advertisements between the programs only. Did Shaun Brown ever provide any proof that that is what the viewers did or is it just that the advertisers will pay more to interrupt a program? Sounds like we viewers have been sold out to the advertisers. Now it’s their station not ours.

    I used to enjoy SBS. In my opinion Shaun Brown and the SBS Board have a lot to answer for. I want them to hand back our SBS so it is run the way it used to be.