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9 comments to Tell Us What You Think About SBS

  • Sam Smit

    SBS has ruined the Movie Show. This once great show which for years was a half-hour show originally presented by Margaret Pomeranz & David Stratton has now been reduced to a mere 10 minute fill-in type program. Margaret & David left SBS a couple of years ago to take their show to ABC-TV but under a different name: At The Movies. Shortly after the departure of Margaret & David from SBS, Margaret was interviewed by Jon Faine on the Conversation Hour on 774 AM Melbourne Local Radio. In that interview Margaret then talked about of the management style at SBS as having changed and she predicated/warned that it would only be a matter of time before SBS-TV began interrupting programs on SBS-TV for advertisements.

    After the departure of Margaret & David from SBS, the Movie Show took a short break from the small screen and later returned however with different presenters and a slightly altered format. The ‘new-look’ Movie Show remained as a half-hour show.

    It now seems that the SBS-TV audience did not take as well to that ‘new-look’. As SBS is now more focused on ratings and the advertising dollar, SBS have done all but flick the show.

    The Movie Show on SBS is now a 10 minute fill-in type show amounting to not much more than an advertorial for the Movie Show web site. And guess what is on their web site? Ads of course. Lots of them.

    Is this proof that SBS are now simply using a TV show merely to generate income?

    I preferred SBS-TV as it was for many years, when the ads were between programs only. However I believe that SBS, being a public tax-payer funded broadcaster, should not be allowed to run any advertisements at all. None! The current management could easily revert to their previous policy of only running ads between programs and not in them.

    Look at what SBS has done to the Movie Show. Once you start to carry ads, the whole equation changes, forever.

    In my opinion it would seem that the current management of SBS are no longer truly committed to the notion of what a public broadcaster should be. I am not impressed!

  • gsutton

    as conscripted vietnam veteran doing PhD on misinformation/social engineering, i am concerned about corporatisation of SBS – which sees editorial content dictated by advertisers and not necessarily by what is in the public interest. Howard has not been satisfied with loading the ABC board with neo-conservatives, now the agenda is too compromise the only other public broadcaster offering objective comment. the demise of Mary Kostakidis is indicative of this political agenda.

  • FDB

    Bye bye Mary Kostakidis.

    Bummer, this has really gone too far.

  • xpro

    Perhaps not bye bye, hopefully just a short interlude.

    SBS will only suffer if Mary departs as for years she has been a major draw card with her presentation, demure and such clear diction. Why oh why do they have to spoil it all by introducing Ads, and not well thought out formats. It has been most noticable that Mary was being given the “Short Straw” especially in the news!

    I agree….this has gone Far too far!!!

  • Save Our SBS

    Read other comments about Mary Kostakidis at http://saveoursbs.org/archives/119 on this web site.

  • kay davis

    After many years of viewing SBS, I am now utterly disappointed at the content of programs. Add commercials to this unsatisfactory mix and the result is a complete turn-off.

    First came a reduction in movies and other entertainment, particularly on weekends (unless you care to wait until 11.30pm to watch something very ordinary), then the commercials and last but not least, sweeping changes to the evening news which meant the demise of Australia’s foremost sports program. In comes Stan Grant, straight for chck’n’noodle news, and the whole character of an outstanding news service changes.

    Mary Kostakidis and her team provided an outstanding program.

    Ratings are unlikely to ever increase when the viewer demographic SBS management hope to entice is not in the least interested, and the already loyal viewers switch off altogether.

  • Brett Ebbeck

    SBS introduced sponsorship in 1990 and stated that it would not lead to commercial advertising on its television channel. Then in 1991 it started inserting commercial advertising between programmes.

    It has now started ruining its television programmes by interrupting them with advertising breaks.

    For a while now the ABC has been interrupting radio programmes with non-paid-advertising or promos. Are these ABC programme promos intended to soften up the ABC listeners to future paid-advertising breaks in the programmes?

    Eventually, just as sponsorship on the SBS ended up as commercial advertising interruptions to television programmes, will the programme advertising or promos make way for full commercial advertising on ABC radio?

    Both the SBS and the ABC are Government (tax payer) owned public broadcasters, and thus should be fully financed by the Government.

    Despite the denial by the Managing Director, Mr. Shaun Brown, the SBS is definitely being dumbed. With commercial advertising on its channel, it can not be but dumbed down.

    Ed: The Act of parliament that establishes the ABC specifically bans it from broadcasting advertisements on its radio or television services. At this stage no mention is made of the ABC internet services. Unlike the ABC, since 1991 the SBS Act never banned advertising on SBS, although SBS then indicated that it might like to seek sponsorship. For more details about this please read “FAQ SBS Advertising & Legislation” and “FAQ SBS Funding” on this web site.

  • 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.