SBS Worldwatch

While it would never be high rating, if it is getting zero, it means you are effectively broadcasting to no one, how do you know if you are doing well or otherwise, feedback these days is minimal outside social media (and you can’t trust most of social media for poise and thoughtfulness, it is just too effortless to post nonsense). At least NITV is getting 0.1-0.2 in prime time which is about right in my mind.

These numbers might also be validating the previous strategy of having the news content in the morning/day on the second channel, with more advertiser-friendly fare in prime time. People would rather have entertainment in prime time.

Just because its posting zeros doesn’t mean that no one is watching - we only get numbers to a single decimal place and given the size of the market that means getting a decent number of viewers that is unlikely for such a niche service where there is no real impetus to watch the service longer than a single news bulletin.

Posting zeros is also a potential (yet probably unresolvable) limitation of how the rating panels are made up - how many homes that are consuming this content have ratings boxes? You’re potentially talking about small numbers on what is already a small (yet statistically significant) size.

Remember also that SBS has an obligation to serve LOTE communities - something that they’ve drifted away from IMO - bringing recent news services, in language, is an important way for the broadcaster to meet that obligation.

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SBS have always delivered LOTE services, just now it is segregated on its own newly created channel for the mainstream to ignore and expanded which I am not convinced was a necessary expenditure for an organisation with an occasional habit of complaining about lack of funding (albeit not as deafening as the ABC’s wailing).

As you know, before they had major blocks on the main channel and Viceland/Two. There was no ban from SBS providing new services before the new channel was created, in fact they had done exactly that previously to limited to no success despite a number of moves to help, which does not bode well for this iteration.

I actually think it was better off in the previous guise as an overnight/morning/daytime block as now all they are really doing is further fragmenting their numbers towards zero. I have already said on this forum previously the likely reason they made this move.

FTA as a medium is all about the mainstream, when you start going down to 1-5,000 viewers, you’re getting to online stream territory. Assuming 2,500,000 are watching tv in prime-time, 0.1% equates to just 2,500 viewers, a very very gettable figure you should think in prime-time, let alone 3am.

I’m not going to profess to know what SBS’ game plan is here - it could be a first step to picking up alternate content that may overlap the Worldwatch blocks on SBS/Viceland, it could be to guarantee the broadcast of the services at consistent timings, it could also be something completely different.

SBS will have a much greater understanding of the markets they’re targeting than we will and I suspect the reasoning why they’ve gone down this path is contained within that. I find it hard to believe that given the budgetery constraints that the broadcaster operates in that they’d launch a new service that wasn’t backed by some kind of need, or business plan. Just because they tried and ‘failed’ previously, doesn’t mean that this time it won’t work - they may have simply been too early to market.

I’m not convinced that you can apply the same metrics to assess the “success” or otherwise of the channel then you would any other channel

The ratings for Worldwatch are likely to be significantly more than what is being reported (especially for content blocks of certain languages) - the nature of the channel makes it incredibly hard to quantify using the current ratings collection methods given the way the ratings panels are constituted. The way people watch the channel will be dramatically different from how you watch any other channel that has ratings gathered

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As we know, ratings are statistical estimates based on panels in selected households across each participating licence area. There are other ways to gauge success in reaching audiences, such as on the advertising side, with client feedback based on their marketing campaigns hitting particular demographics of interest. This we know zero of, although it can be speculated that SBS’ interest to split this content off the pre-existing channels suggests there is more success to be had with other forms of programming.

Not really, you watch a program that what you want to watch, then you switch elsewhere, if anything, most of any audience would likely watch just one or two programs at most, then switch away which is not a positive thing as a FTA broadcaster.

It also allows them to do something that they weren’t/couldn’t do under the previous arrangement - run the content in the evenings/nights which would open up the ability for people to watch.

The nature of the channel makes it incredibly difficult to have any continuity of viewership across the schedule - the level of crossover between say an Arabic news service and a Mandarin one that might be straight after is going to be incredibly small. Unlike other channels where your audience from one timeslot to another is going to contain a decent percentage of viewers who are not changing channels, here you’d almost resetting to zero for every timeslot.

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Although they try to lower the impact from this by airing blocks of bulletins from specific regions.

This was already tested when they ran the World News Channel, although I don’t think it was part of the ratings panel, might be wrong. I am sure they would have done some surveys/had interactions across ethnic group associations to gauge interest from such communities as well as census statistics to identify the countries that should be prioritised.

Bizarre take.

You really think English-speaking audiences used to sit down and watch random foreign language news bulletins when they flicked through to SBS1? There’s 30 other channels they could’ve watched.

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My point was, you don’t maximise viewership by segregating content. One of the great things with FTA was it was an aggregator of mixed content. As a viewer, there is zero way I would physically switch to such niche content (on a new channel no less) unless it incidentally ended up on as a result of watching other programming, that is my point and that is why FTA programming, presentation and marketing is such an art, to work to maximise the people watching each and every program.

The new World watch channel works well for migrant communities, as it is a one stop shop for all foreign language news, as opposed to having it on different channels overnight and in the mornings only.

At least now migrant communities can watch the news in their language in prime time, especially Arabic and Mandarin communities.

It also gives SBS and SBS Viceland the chance to broadcast more English language news in the mornings, from all over the world, which is good to get some international news bulletins in English on FTA.

Peer to peer is also a very good program on SBS after the Doordarshan news, getting insights from business leaders and decision makers.

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2023 info

Audiences can watch SBS WorldWatch free-to-air on channel 35 and catch up or stream it live on SBS On Demand. Since the launch of SBS WorldWatch in May 2022, the 13 new bulletins added to the international news offering across the network, are:

On SBS WorldWatch (in languages other than English)

Schedule: SBS Program Guide for SBS WorldWatch | New South Wales (NSW)

  • Gujarati news – from India Public Broadcaster Prasar Bharati / Doordarshan (DD)
  • Malayalam news – from India Public Broadcaster Prasar Bharati / Doordarshan (DD)

On SBS VICELAND (English)

Schedule: SBS Program Guide for SBS VICELAND | New South Wales (NSW)

  • TRT World NewsHour – from TRT Turkey
  • Indian Country Today (ICT) news – from USA Indigenous network, IndiJ Public Media, Phoenix Arizona
  • APTN national news – from Canadian Indigenous network, Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN), Winnipeg, Canada
  • Te Ao with Moana – from New Zealand’s Māori Television
  • Fiji One news – from Fiji television ltd Suva, Fiji
  • ABC Nightline – from ABC America, New York USA
  • CBC The National – from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Toronto, Canada

On SBS (English)

  • Schedule: SBS Program Guide for SBS | New South Wales (NSW)
  • ANC The World Tonight – from Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN Manila, Philippines
  • APAC Weekly – from APAC Network, Brisbane, Qld Australia
  • DD India news – from India Public Broadcaster Prasar Bharati / Doordarshan (DD)
  • BBC News at 10 – from British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) London, UK
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Surprised they are showing this one.

French national news bulletin 20 Heures returns to SBS television

Popular French national news bulletin 20 Heures (20H) will be added to SBS WorldWatch’s programming line-up on 8 November 2022 following a new agreement between SBS and France Télévisions, the broadcaster of channel France 2’s long running 20H half hour program.

20H was brought into SBS’s programming line-up on 24 August 1993 where it enjoyed a loyal viewership in Australia until it was removed from the network’s schedule on 13 February 2022.

Strong audience feedback followed the bulletin’s replacement with TV5Monde’s international French language program 64’ le Monde en Français in the same timeslot, with SBS receiving hundreds of submissions and comments in favour of returning 20H to SBS screens.

SBS Director of News and Current Affairs Mandi Wicks said the return of 20H to SBS follows clear audience demand.

“We are thrilled 20H is coming back to SBS. It was clear the audience was disappointed when the schedule was changed and we delighted to be able to return 20H to the mix of high-quality news programming for our French-speaking audience.”

France 2’s 20H will air at 8.40am daily on SBS WorldWatch from Tuesday 8 November.

Each episode of TV5Monde’s bulletin will remain available on SBS On Demand for seven days. alongside 20H and 13H.

SBS Worldwatch provides Australians with access to news from around the world in 37 languages other than English, with a line-up of news bulletins from leading international broadcasters, ensuring news-consuming SBS audiences are better served than ever before.

Viewers can watch France 24 news in English daily on SBS and on SBS On Demand.

Additional French language programming across the network:

  • 20H from France 2 (SBS WorldWatch and SBS On Demand)
    13H from France 2 (SBS WorldWatch and SBS On Demand)
  • Le Journal from TV5Monde (SBS On Demand)
  • France24 French news - coming soon (SBS On Demand)
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I checked out the channel again tonight and noticed that it was now broadcasting a shortened version of today’s 6.30pm bulletin. Due to the current three hour time difference between AEDT and Hong Kong, the bulletin was shown on a 2.6 hour delay (Worldwatch broadcast starts at 12.10am daily).

Just a follow up from my previous post, NHK BS1’s World News (ワールドニュース) can be aired bilingually, meaning viewers can watch the program in the original language. Also, here are some video examples about the show and some facts.

This bulletin was aired on 22 January 2020 at 7am, though the indicator on the top right corner had a minor change, the World News titles remain the same.

The bulletin features:

  • France 2’s Journal de 20 Heures (same program as SBS)
  • ZDF’s Heute (Germany)
  • BBC News at Six (United Kingdom, News at Ten airs during when the UK is in British Summer Time, same program as SBS)
  • TVE’s Telediario (Spain, same program as SBS)
  • CCTV’s China News and Xinwen Lianbo
  • KBS News Plaza (KBS뉴스광장, South Korea, the morning news program; KBS News 9, the broadcaster’s flagship news program, airs in the 5am bulletin)

Here is an older edition that was broadcast at 5am on 24 November 2017. This particular hour in recent years now features BBC News at Six and several East and Southeast Asian broadcaster’s evening news programs [apart from VTV which airs the noon bulletin via VTV4]. Please note that the titles for this bulletin and the BBC program are cut off.

This bulletin features:

  • BBC News at Six
  • VGTRK’s Vesti (Russia, currently suspended during the Russian invasion of Ukraine)
  • ZDF’s Heute
  • ABC’s The World (which airs in the ABC News channel, not in ABC TV)
  • TVB’s News at 7:30 (in English, Hong Kong, unlike SBS which sources the Cantonese program from the broadcaster’s international channel, NHK acquires the English version from TVB Pearl, TVB’s national English channel)
  • NDTV 24x7 News (in English, India)

Also, since SBS acquired TVB back in 2007, NHK still continues to air ATV until its closure in 2016.

Though NHK airs some broadcasters who are dominant in a LOTE language, like TVB and NDTV, and formerly ABS-CBN Philippines (whose program now airs in SBS) and Suspilne Ukraine (which airs online bulletins from its Russian Invasion of Ukraine YouTube channel, now discontinued), in their English counterparts, they air Al Jazeera in Arabic. Here is a segment of the broadcaster which aired in the 6am bulletin which aired on 22 December 2022. The program is called Alttasiea (التاسعة, the 9pm bulletin).

Though SBS stopped airing the Vietnamese broadcaster in late 2003, NHK still continues to air VTV since, which they acquired in 1996, according to the NHK Archives. Here is a segment from VTV4’s Bản Tin Thời Sự (Noon bulletin; with the final scenes of MCOT’s [Thailand] 9 Evening News [9 ข่าวค่ำ] in the first few seconds) featured in the 6am bulletin which aired on 17 March 2022.

NHK is still airing these featured broadcasters, including CCTV and VTV, but not VGTRK, to this day.

NHK BS1 also has a weekday morning program called Catch! Sekai no Top News (キャッチ!世界のトップニュース; Catch! The Top Global News) where the newsreaders introduce the international news stories of the day through reports from NHK’s international news partners. They occasionally feature currently-suspended VGTRK as of now since NHK still has broadcasting rights with the Russian broadcaster. During the middle of the program, there is a segment which features in-depth reports of recent events or an interesting story in a foreign country. Here is a bulletin which aired on 22 January 2020, though the presenters and graphics have changed since.

Also, NHK sometimes uses footage from its international news partners in other news programs during reports outside Japan, including News 7 which airs in SBS WorldWatch. But since SBS sources the Japanese news program from NHK World Premium, reports from the BBC and VGTRK are blocked because of broadcasting restrictions and shows this message:

All footage are owned by NHK and the respective foreign broadcasters.

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Funny considering more money is spent on the Arabic bulletin rather than the Mandarin bulletin.

Linear numbers don’t mean much these days.
How many eyeballs are watching the content in general is what makes a difference.

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In WorldWatch’s case, I’d contend that it’s not even this. The nature of the channel and the way ratings are collected means that the standard ratings (even some demos) are meaningless.

To get share you realistically need continuity of viewers across prime time - when you’re showing blocks of content in disparate languages one after another, you’re not going to get many (if any) people watching for long periods of time (ie, greater than one program), so they’re going to have viewer numbers that when graphed look like a rough sea.

That said, I doubt our ratings panels have sufficient diversity to accurately estimate viewers too. The panels are formed to be statistically significant and representative, but there is a limit on the latter without having impacts on the size of the panel, and given the nature of the programming and the diaspora that SBS are attempting to reach, they’re unlikely to be apart of any ratings panel.

SBS will have its own targets for the channel - they’ve got some of the best understanding and data of multicultural Australia that will allow them to get an understanding of the performance of the channel.

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Interesting to see the numbers for the Mandarin News and the Arabic News in that article a few posts above. I agree that the way the figures at oztam is collected, that the numbers for this channel aren’t ever going to be high. Agree that most people watching the channel are watching the one news program, and once finished, they change over to another.

I know when Insight is repeated on the channel on Saturday nights (with Arabic subtitles at the bottom), the channel sometimes gets 0.1%. Probably because the show is one hour long, compared to other 30 minute bulletins.

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