facebook.com/SaveOurSBS        twitter.com/SaveOurSBS

SBS cooking channel created for commercial return

When SBS unsuccessfully argued for the parliament to amend the SBS Act to double the hourly advertising limit – a move that Save Our SBS and 62,000 petitioners opposed – SBS forecast the increase would raise an extra $28.5m over four years. The commercial networks Free TV Australia (channels 7, 9 and 10) also opposed the move saying SBS would generate around $148m in the first four years. Back then, the forecasts were based on ad revenue from SBS-ONE, SBS 2, and NITV as SBS did not reveal they were soon to establish a dedicated cooking channel.

But SBS always made it clear they were especially keen to exploit sport and food programs for commercial gain. In these higher rating programs, advertisers pay more.

SBS Managing Director, Michael Ebeid said, "As we face funding pressures and an increasingly competitive market, we need to find new ways to bring audiences the best content from around the world and create a commercial return".

SBS does not see the commercial return being limited to ads in commercial breaks. It wants to utilise the more disguised form of advertising, revenue from product placement. How this fits into SBS Charter obligations is yet to be demonstrated.

The cooking channel has come about due to a licensing agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive who will supply food programming including cooking competitions, culinary adventures and home entertaining.

SBS Chief Content Officer, Helen Kellie said, "Whether you’re passionate about food, or just take pleasure in family cooking and eating with friends, our new channel will be a daily destination for your love of everyday food. As well as bringing some of the world’s most popular programs in the genre to local audiences, the new channel will help SBS to continue discovering and nurturing Australian talent and developing new programs. It’s an exciting new extension to SBS’s food, travel and culture offer for audiences."

The cooking channel – SBS 3 – will be assigned to channel 33 when it launches in November.

With the establishment of the SBS cooking channel, SBS will have one other ‘spare’ channel if they split the content on their HD channel 30 and standard definition channel 3. Currently, both carry the same SBS-ONE content.

More than a year ago, Save Our SBS proposed to SBS that they implement a 90 percent foreign language service on their HD channel and present that content without in-program commercial breaks, programmed in a similar style to the unique SBS of old. SBS rejected the fully-Charter-compliant idea as it did not meet their commercial objectives. The broadcaster hopes the cooking channel will. 

Except in selected time slots, there will be no competition to the cooking genre of the 24 hour, seven days a week food channel. But this will not satisfy SBS’s stated desire to exploit sporting programs for maximum commercial return. What next – 24 hour global sport on SBS’s HD channel? Watch this space.


Comments are closed.