facebook.com/SaveOurSBS        twitter.com/SaveOurSBS

SBS boss admits no funding sought in Budget to wind back advertising

Last month, the Managing Director of SBS, Shaun Brown publicly admitted that SBS did not ask for any funding to “wind back the amount of advertising”. Brown was being questioned in Senate Estimates (25 May 2009).

Senator Scott Ludlam, the W.A. Greens spokesperson for Communications had been questioning Brown about the SBS advertising policies and operations.

Surprisingly Brown also told Senate Estimates that SBS had not sought “revenue to offset the commercial revenue” when SBS recently made its submission to government for funding for the next three years. Brown also said he was aware of the public objections to SBS interrupting programs.

Senator LUDLAM– Are you concerned or are you surprised by the degree to which these opinions were raised in the process of public submissions late last year, the degree of disquiet amongst the audience about the amount of advertising?
Mr Brown– No, I am not really.

This revelation by Brown at Senate Estimates only confirms public perception that Brown and the SBS Board are not listening to their viewers. Such arrogance, that SBS made a deliberate decision not to seek any funding from government in the May Budget to abandon its failed advertising policy in the light of SBS knowing that viewers expected such funding request be made, only serves to further annoy and anger viewers.

Brown has previously taken credit for the decision by the SBS Board to interrupt programs. That commenced in late 2006. Before that, SBS-TV only placed advertisements between programs, not in them.

For the past 2 and a half years since SBS began these interruptions, Brown has publicly claimed that the sole reason for such interruptions was to fund Australian program production and that all the money (minus agency commissions) raised from commercial breaks in programs was only used to make Australian programs.

But now that in the May 2009 Budget the federal government maintained SBS funding in real terms for the next three years and added an additional amount specifically to produce Australian programs, there is no reason for SBS to continue to interrupt programs.

In the Save Our SBS: Triennial Funding for SBS Submission submitted to Senator Conroy on 5 August 2008 we asked for more money for SBS than did the broadcaster itself. But we now know the Managing Director was not interested in requesting more money to wind back advertising because he favoured revue from advertisements interrupting programs. This he articulated to the National Press Club in 2007 and has repeated since.

Save Our SBS says it is high time the Managing Director of SBS and the Board listened to their viewers and reversed their failed commercialisation policy.

Stop interrupting programs for commercial breaks.

Self regulation of the SBS Board to take note of public opposition to advertisements interrupting programs has failed.

Now that the government has granted SBS funding for Australian program production, thereby removing the only stated need ever given by SBS to interrupt programs, will Labor take the bold step to introduce a Bill to prohibit SBS from interrupting programs on SBS-TV. Or will they leave that up to another politician to sort out? Who? How? When?

More Information

The questions and answers asked by Senator Scott Ludlam in the May 2009 Senate Estimates may be read in detail at:  http://wotnews.com.au/like/estimates_sbs_funding_and_advertising/3471896 however if you would prefer to read the full Hansard transcript of the May 2009 Senate Estimates visit:  http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=;db=;group=;holdingType=;id=;orderBy=;page=0;query=Id%3A%22committees%2Festimate%2F12031%2F0003%22;querytype=;rec=;resCount=

The reference made in the May Senate Estimates to “public submissions” refers to some 2400 submissions made about the ABC & SBS to the Minister in December 2008. The Department has published most of these at: http://www.dbcde.gov.au/consultation_and_submissions/abc_sbs_review/_submissions

Comments are closed.