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SBS-TV free of ad breaks?

Last week an event of significance took place in the Senate that may have important implications in the funding of SBS, leading to a considerable reduction in the number of adverts cluttering up television programs.

On Wednesday (26/11/11) the government voted in favour of a motion, tabled by Senator Scott Ludlum, communications spokesperson for the Greens, reiterating the value of SBS to Australian society. He also gave notice of a private bill, aimed at removing commercial breaks during programs on SBS television.

The Special Broadcasting Service Amendment (Natural Program Breaks and Disruptive Advertising) Bill 2012 will be tabled next year.

Save Our SBS President, Steve Aujard said “We fully support the recognition of SBS with legislation to curtail advertising.

“For over a decade now, SBS has suffered from the effects of chronic underfunding by successive governments. Advertising breaks during programs were introduced five years ago to make up the short fall, a decision we believe goes against the spirit of independent public broadcasting.

“The commercialisation of SBS five years ago has been a disaster. Its rate of growth from television ads has been in decline since 2008 and negative since 2010. Viewers dislike the breaks in programs and Hansard clearly shows the legislators never intended ads in programs anyway. SBS is a special broadcaster.

“Save Our SBS hopes Senator Ludlam’s bill will be an excellent opportunity to resolve the funding shortfall and diminish the effects of advertising on program quality.

“SBS was the world’s first multicultural broadcaster; the commercialisation of the past five years has brought the organisation to a crossroad. If government fails to recognise the need for appropriate public funding in next years triennial budget, there will be an irredeemable slide away from its historical mandate towards implacable commercialism.”

Save Our SBS has been campaigning for a phasing out of advertising on SBS since 2007 and a significant increase in public funding.

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