SBS Operations

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Discussion of SBS operations, appointments and funding

Previous thread SBS management and operations

Statement from Michael Ebeid, SBS Managing Director, on the passing of Brian Johns AO

In a short statement issued by Michael Ebeid, SBS Managing Director, the network extended its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Brian Johns AO, former Chief Executive of SBS, who passed away on 1 January 2016, following a long illness.

Brian was widely respected for his contribution to the media and communication industry, and admired for his commitment to ensuring Australia’s media services reflected the changing face of our nation. He steered SBS through a period of significant change and growth between 1987-1992, including the introduction of the Special Broadcasting Services Act 1991 and the establishment of our Charter, which continues to be at the very heart of all that we do. He was passionate about SBS reaching more Australians, while continuing to improve the quality of its services for Australia’s increasingly diverse multicultural society.

Under Brian’s leadership, SBS made television history when it appointed Australia’s first female Chief Newsreader in Mary Kostakidis, broadcast the FIFA World Cup and Tour de France on SBS for the first time, and conducted an extensive review of SBS’s radio services to establish the national network which saw SBS broadcast programs in 63 languages in 1992. He was instrumental in ensuring SBS was a network for all Australians, and his work will continue to have a long and lasting impact on SBS, and on the wider media landscape in Australia.

SBS announces strategic changes to commissioned content team

From May, the SBS commissioning team will become two teams - scripted and non-scripted, to leverage opportunities in the two distinct areas of content where SBS focuses its investments.

The non-scripted team will be headed up by John Godfrey, currently SBS Head of Documentaries, who has been appointed to the role of Head of Non-Scripted Content. John has been responsible for ground-breaking and award-winning documentaries, including First Contact, Struggle Street and Go Back to Where You Came From series 2 and 3.

With John’s appointment, Joseph Maxwell, currently SBS Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, has been appointed as Head of Documentaries.

The scripted team will be headed up by Sue Masters, currently SBS Executive Producer Drama, who has been appointed to the role of Head of Scripted Content. Sue comes to the role with an exceptional track record in developing and delivering high quality commissioned content in drama at SBS, including The Family Law, The Principal and 2016 series Deep Water.

The changes follow the departure of SBS Head of Commissioned Content Alison Sharman who will return to her family in the United Kingdom at the end of April after three years with SBS.

Director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: “We thank Alison for her invaluable contribution to SBS. In her time Alison has led an esteemed slate of great commissioned content across SBS, including the coup of bringing renowned chef Heston Blumenthal to the network. Alison was also instrumental in great series like The Family Law, Struggle Street, The Principal, Mardi Gras, Rachel Koo’s Kitchen Notebook and, in production, Deep Water. She is an exceptionally talented program-maker and we wish her all the best for the future.

“The SBS Charter is at the heart of SBS commissioned content and these changes are about ensuring we are well-placed to continue our momentum of audience growth and to leverage new opportunities across key genres in scripted and non-scripted content that delivers distinctive, inspiring and entertaining programs for Australian audiences.”

The non-scripted team will be responsible for documentaries, food, entertainment and factual entertainment, and the scripted team will be responsible for drama and comedy. SBS will also be recruiting new Commissioning Editor roles within both the Scripted and Unscripted teams.

Australian audiences to benefit from SBS’s triennial funding outcome

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid has welcomed an additional $15.1 million in funding for SBS in tonight’s 2016 Federal Budget, on top of its base funding allocation over the next three years.

This includes $8.3 million for continuation of core SBS activities and $6.9 million in 2016-17 to reinstate funds SBS would have raised, had proposed legislation to provide SBS with advertising flexibility passed the Senate.

“At the heart of SBS is a commitment to contribute to the health of our multicultural society and this funding acknowledges the special value of SBS programs and services to Australian audiences,” he said.

“The funding will support SBS services at a time when there is higher engagement and demand than ever before, with audiences expecting content to be delivered across a multitude of digital platforms and devices.

“It will enable SBS teams to continue delivering on our Charter by providing balanced and high-quality news and current affairs, services that aid participation in Australian life for our four million LOTE (Language other than English) speakers, and unique programs which inspire a greater understanding and appreciation of our nation’s diversity.

“In this Budget, the government has recognised the value of SBS’s role in our collective efforts to promote social cohesion, and the changing media landscape in which SBS operates.”

SBS appoints Susie Jones as Commissioning Editor, Documentaries

SBS has appointed Susie Jones as Commissioning Editor, Documentaries within the television and online content division. Susie joins SBS from Matchbox Pictures where she is currently Factual Entertainment Development Executive.

Susie brings extensive experience to SBS and most recently oversaw the development of productions for all networks at Matchbox Pictures, including SBS commission Date My Race. Prior to this, Susie spent over ten years as a freelance producer for a range of content across SBS, ABC, Network Ten, Nine Network, Seven Network and the Discovery Channel, including the 2010 AFI-nominated documentary feature Rudely Interrupted (ABC), Undercover Boss (Network Ten), Myf Warhurst’s Nice (ABC) and The Secret Millionaire (Nine Network).

Susie joins SBS’s non-scripted team, which includes documentaries and is responsible for shows such as First Contact, Go Back To Where You Came From and DNA Nation. Susie will commission and oversee the production of distinctive multiplatform documentary content that inspires all Australians to explore, appreciate and celebrate our multicultural society.

SBS Director of TV and Online Content, Marshall Heald, said: “I am delighted to welcome Susie to SBS. Susie’s strong track record in factual content production will be a great addition to SBS’s non-scripted team as we continue to tell innovative and ground-breaking stories that reflect our diverse world.”

Susie said: “SBS leads the way with distinctive documentaries, providing new perspectives that explore multicultural Australia. I am thrilled to be joining such a unique network and look forward to bringing more exciting and thought-provoking content to Australian audiences.”

Susie will commence her role on 12 September 2016 and will report into Joseph Maxwell, Head of Documentaries.

Mediaweek deputy editor Dan Barrett has accepted a role with the SBS Online team, joining them as an Online Producer – Television, where he will be working on the content related to its online television guide. He finishes with Mediaweek next Friday (September 30) and starts work at SBS in early October.

Clare O’Neil will join SBS as the director of corporate affairs in early November, replacing Tureia Sample who has been with SBS since December 2003 and has been director of corporate affairs for the past year. O’Neil has been with Free TV Australia for five-and-a-half years as the director of legal and broadcasting policy and company secretary and has been acting CEO for the past four months following Julie Flynn’s retirement. Sample will join PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Cumulative audience. The ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten networks are probably near 24 million a month.

14 million? That means two thirds of the entire Australian population watches or listens to SBS outlets (which I suppose includes online) at some point each month? Not sure I quite buy that statistic.


Possible a “reach” statistic i.e., watch SBS TV (or listen to SBS radio) for 5 minutes during the month.

Dr Bulent Hass Dellal has been appointed chairman of SBS board, Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced today. Dr Dellal was appointed a director of the SBS board in 2010 and has been acting in the chairman role since the exit of Nihal Gupta early last year.

Statement regarding the appointment of Dr Bulent Hass Dellal AO as SBS Chairman

The SBS Board and Executive welcomed the appointment of Dr Bulent Hass Dellal AO as the SBS Chairman, as announced by the Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield.

SBS Managing Director, Michael Ebeid; said: “On behalf of the Board and the SBS team, I’d like to congratulate Dr Dellal on his appointment, which I have no doubt will be well received by both the employees of SBS, and the communities we serve. He has contributed enormously to SBS during more than six years serving on the Board, including as Deputy Chairman, and has done a tremendous job as Acting Chair over the last year. I’m delighted that he’s been formally appointed to the role.

“Dr Dellal’s extensive knowledge of multicultural affairs, his many years of experience working with diverse community groups, and his strong connections within communities have been invaluable to SBS. I look forward to working closely with him and the Board as SBS continues to deliver distinctive programs and services which help migrants understand Australian culture and values, support Indigenous communities, and showcase the benefits of diversity to all Australians, while also continuing to invest in the organisation’s digital future ensuring that SBS is in a great place for the years ahead.”

Dr Dellal said on his appointment: “I’m incredibly proud to have the opportunity to chair SBS. SBS’s unique ability to access, explore and share stories of Indigenous and multicultural Australia, for all Australians, continues to be one of our greatest and most valuable strengths. As the media sector continues to go through transformative changes, I look forward to working with the Board and management to ensure SBS continues to play such a vital and special role in Australia’s future.”

Dr Dellal has been appointed by the Australian Government as Chairman of the SBS Board for a period of just over three years, which takes his term up to the statutory limit of ten years serving on the SBS Board. He leads the Board of Directors which includes Daryl Karp, Dorothy West, Peeyush Gupta, William Lenehan and Michael Ebeid (Managing Director).

SBS Board hosts ‘in conversation’ community forum

Hosted by SBS Insight presenter Jenny Brockie, the ‘Conversations with SBS – Board Community Forum’ was an opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from the recently appointed Chairman of SBS, Dr Hass Dellal AO, Managing Director Michael Ebeid, other members of SBS’s Board of Directors, Dot West, Bill Lenehan, Daryl Karp and Peeyush Gupta, as well as senior SBS management.

SBS Chairman, Dr Hass Dellal AO, opened the discussion commenting on the important role community consultation has played in the evolution of SBS.

Dr Dellal said: “I have a passion for SBS, and I know that you all have a passion for SBS. We have served the early migrants that came to this country really well, and we continue to serve them. We now have that same responsibility and obligation for Australia’s newer communities, to really serve them well. That’s what we’re about. We serve them through the stories we explore, and we do that through consultation.

“There are so many important issues to tackle and we need to make sure we are for all Australians - Indigenous Australians, new arrivals, as well as the earlier migrant communities - so we all come together as a nation.

“Simply being a culturally and ethnically diverse nation does not constitute a successful multicultural country in the absence of good policy and good consultation. SBS was one of those good policy decisions. It’s ours, it’s all of ours,” Dr Dellal added.

SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid spoke about how SBS is continuing to evolve to be able to provide more opportunities for Australia’s diverse communities to access more content than ever before.

Mr Ebeid said: “The media sector has changed more in the past five years than it has in the past 50. One of the things that we’ve been really focused on is evolving SBS to ensure we’re keeping up with the way that audiences are consuming media.

“That’s what we’re focused on, using technology to reach more Australians, be available to more communities, and continuing to evolve. But importantly we are making sure that our content is distinctive to every other network, and that has never been more important to us.

“We’re proud to be a network that reflects what you would see walking down any street in any city or town in Australia, more than any other network,” Mr Ebeid added.
The discussion throughout the 90 minute event covered a wide range of topics reflecting the diverse communities that SBS serves including the SBS Radio Services Review currently underway, the importance of promoting languages, the need to serve younger audiences through channels like SBS VICELAND while also helping older audiences take advantage of digital technology including SBS On Demand, as well as Indigenous employment and pathway opportunities.

The community forum followed the first SBS Board meeting of 2017 held at SBS’s headquarters in Artarmon on 23 February. The event also provided a valuable opportunity for representatives of different community groups and organisations with a shared interest in the programs and services SBS delivers, the chance to connect and engage with one another. Attendees were also provided with a preview of upcoming SBS content for 2017.

SBS will continue to host similar public events throughout the year, with details to be published on the SBS website as they become available.

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###SBS announces winner of the Diversity Works Challenge

Surf Life Saving Australia recognised for its campaign concept reflecting Australia’s diversity

SBS is proud to announce Surf Life Saving Australia as the winner of the 2017 Diversity Works Challenge, with their campaign concept developed by KWP! in Adelaide. Opening earlier this year, the initiative called on brands and agencies to develop an advertising campaign that demonstrates the diversity of today’s Australia.

SBS Managing Director, Michael Ebeid, said: “SBS has been championing diversity for more than 41 years and the Diversity Works Challenge is another way of us delivering on this unique purpose. We’re thrilled to see the representation of diverse Australian communities, people and cultures throughout the advertising campaigns submitted as part of this initiative and look forward to seeing the winning entry on air later this year.”

Surf Life Saving Australia will receive $1 million of advertising space across SBS TV and digital assets and their campaign is set to premiere on SBS in the second half of 2017.

The campaign showcases the diversity of Surf Life Saving Australia as an organisation, as well as the many Australians who enjoy the beach. The creative draws attention to the indiscriminate nature of the dangers of the ocean and prompts people regardless of colour, language, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or cultural differences, to think carefully about how and where they enjoy beaches and waterways.

SBS Media Director of Sales, Andrew Cook, said: “Despite the very high calibre of entries, the judging panel was unanimous in its decision to award the prize to Surf Life Saving Australia. The concept integrates the diversity of Australia into the fabric of the campaign and delivers a simple and focused creative strategy that will assist Surf Life Saving Australia to deliver their objective of saving lives.

“It’s been encouraging to see the number of major Australian brands who have taken part in the inaugural Diversity Works Challenge, further demonstrating that thinking with diversity works”.

Surf Life Saving Australia Chief Executive, Melissa King, said, “We’re thrilled to have been judged the winner of the challenge and excited to have the opportunity to bring our creative concept developed by KWP! to life. The challenge will have a significant impact on Surf Life Saving across the country, and assist us in our mission to keep our beaches safe. It will also call out to our wonderfully diverse communities around Australia to think about joining our movement. ”

Nine Entertainment CEO Hugh Marks revealed yesterday his network was outbid by SBS on the rights to The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been a success for SBS on Demand since its debut two weeks ago. He mentioned it as an example of SBS driving up prices for international content during a parliamentary inquiry into the Australian TV and film industry in Sydney yesterday. Did Marks forget that a decade ago, Nine paid big bucks to BBC Worldwide and snatched the rights to Top Gear from SBS (when it was pulling 1 million viewers per week) and managed to ruin the show’s popularity over the years?


My guess would be Hugh Marks has no idea what The Handmaid’s Tale is about and only wants it because of the buzz it has generated. It’s not the type of drama that would appeal to Nine’s core audience. Far too intelligent and well made. I haven’t a clue where Nine would even place it in their schedule. No doubt it would be buried in a graveyard slot after one failed outing following one of their insipid tent pole shows.


Perhaps for Stan?

Why is the SBS operating a movie blog where articles like this are posted?

The funding should be re-allocated to TV broadcast services immediately - if the SBS has too much money for its own good, then perhaps a trim back is required.

STATEMENT: SBS refutes claims of anti-Indian propaganda

SBS is aware there is currently an online petition accusing SBS of being anti-Indian and of
publishing anti- Indian propaganda, citing the recent publication of a map of India and the way
Kashmir is depicted.

SBS strongly denies such allegations.

Recently SBS World News published a story online about the 70th anniversary of the partition of
India through the voices of three Australians who witnessed it first-hand. This included a video
with a map showing the changes to the region from before and after the partition.

SBS World News appreciates that both India and Pakistan lay claim to Kashmir and administer
separate parts of the region. As a news service it is not SBS’s role to take a particular side.
For this reason the image shows Kashmir with the colours of both nations as represented on the map.
China also administers part of Kashmir which is included on the map. The map is designed to be seen
as an element within a video not as a still image. The video shows the changes in boundaries over
the past 70 years.

SBS is always mindful of community sensitives when reporting on global issues and tensions such as
this and ensures it remains impartial and balanced in its reporting. SBS has long been a supporter
of the Indian community as it is to all the communities we serve.

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