SBS receives funding boost and launches indigenous channel

Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 09-05-2012

Australia's multicultural and multilingual broadcaster SBS has received a A$158.1m Federal Budget investment, which will enable it to launch a new national free-to-air indigenous TV channel.
The 2012 Federal Budget funding boost is a 27% increase on SBS’s base Government funding over the next four years.

SBS chair Joseph Skrzynski said: “SBS welcomes the significant boost to its core funding by the Federal Government. It is recognition that the work of SBS is a vital component of national strategies to ensure the continued success of Australia as a migrant society, maintaining social cohesion in these more difficult economic times.

“It equips us with the means to address some of the challenges we’ve faced in a changing media landscape and will ensure our ongoing relevance in an ever more multicultural Australia.”

SBS MD Michael Ebeid added: “In this Budget we’ve secured the funding SBS needs to be sustainable and to position for the future. The funding increase will offset the slower growth in commercial revenues experienced by SBS, in line with trends across the media industry.

“It’s the most significant funding boost SBS has ever received, and will support our work in developing news and content that breaks down language barriers and inspires and connects communities.

“Importantly, it will allow for the creation of a national free-to-air service to broadcast dedicated news and other programmes about and produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

“SBS is honoured and excited to be delivering this new service, which will vastly increase the opportunity for the telling of stories from and by indigenous communities, and make those stories more accessible to audiences across the country.”

From 1 July, NITV will be maintained on existing platforms and a new national Indigenous free-to-air service will be launched in late 2012. When the new channel is launched, it will be broadcast on a national free-to-air digital spectrum.