SBS Worldwatch

Cantonese News (TVB Hong Kong’s 6.30pm news) had its first screening on Worldwatch tonight. While it is finally shown in 16:9 format (up until a few months ago it was broadcast in 4:3 format while the original version was in widescreen), unfortunately it was last night’s bulletin shown on more than 24 hour delay. I was hoping for an edited version of this evening’s bulletin.

Hopefully SBS will raise the issue with TVB, so later this year there can be a same day broadcast of the evening news.

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I mean I once had to wake up at 2:30am to record something for my YT channel so I’m not gonna say anything



Arabic and Mandarin promos


I tend to agree about CNA.

Even for the English language news that they’ve left on (and expanded) on the main SBS channels, it seems like they are comfortable with NHK World being their main partner there in the Asian time zone (doubly so since they are also using it to fill dead time overnight on Viceland, rather than just going to WeatherWatch). They’ve added an English bulletin from the ABS-CBN News Channel too - where SBS has taken its Filipino/Tagalog language news from for a while now.

Hard to squeeze in CNA when they also want to cover the rest of the world in the four hour slot they’ve given the “foreign English news” slot, even over two channels (I’m ignoring the slot they give the American bulletins later in the day on SBS1). And I imagine, harder still if Mediacorp wants them to pay more for rebroadcast rights than the likes of NHK would, which is an unknown to me.

On WorldWatch itself - even if they were able to take in a Chinese bulletin from their Channel 8, the number of potential expats from somewhere like Singapore would also be much smaller than, say, the reach the additional subcontinental language bulletins they’re adding (beyond Hindi) may well bring in. So kinda hard to justify on those grounds either I imagine.

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The WeatherWatch loop played again today during what was supposed to be the Hindi News slot.

This channel is getting total people prime time shares of 0 (zero), are they only getting 4 figure audiences or what?

I wonder what the numbers are for their locally produced Meridian and Arabic news. lol

Given the niche of the content and that viewing of the channel would be largely sporadic, i.e. people only tuning in for one program then tuning out, plus some programs having multiple screenings, the channel’s share will be negligible. It’s hit the occasional 0.1 per cent but mostly registers 0. Ratings shares are based on averages not necessarily overall audience reach (e.g. total number of viewers who tune in for any time) OzTAM would be reporting audience reach but we don’t see those.


It does get the odd 0.1% shares i think on Saturdays as there is a repeat of Insight (with Arabic subtitles) airing. But that 0.1% share doesn’t happen as often on other nights. Usually 0.0%

As mentioned, people watch for a 30 minute bulletin, then tune out.


Would it be because of Insight, or would it be that it holds its total audience size, and every other channel on free to air plummets on a Sat night prime time so it registers because the total sum of the pie is smaller?

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It’s also difficult to measure audiences for such a niche channel. Foreign-language speakers who want to watch news bulletins from their home countries? What’s the likelihood OzTam gives them a box? And if they do get a box, congratulations, you’ve got one family watching a 30 minute bulletin in one language and promptly tuning out. OzTam will never properly capture the numbers and I don’t think they nor SBS care if they don’t.

Also, even if the actual audience is in the thousands, the channel is still doing its job.


I think the channel could be better delivered as an online ondemand platform where viewers could get their desired news as soon as it is available rather than waiting for many hours. There could also be other news or current affairs content provided from the various countries.

It usually gets 0 in every market and all demos. On an occasional day one market like Sydney this Sunday got a boost when a few thousand watched an Insight repeat. Different bulletins are more or less popular in each market depending on the “migrant” population of the city. Filipino News for example might rank higher in Perth and get about 1,000 watching .


I think the reason for this channel is the older generation who don’t know how to get online to watch the news.


This would be a great service.

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The latter is probably more likely - will be one to watch over summer when the number of viewers drops

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To be fair, the “internet savvy” crowd probably wouldn’t need SBS to provide access to foreign news at all.
I suspect you’d get far more up-to-date copies of whatever they uploaded online from the host broadcasters website. And a greater breadth of coverage (text articles, etc).

This service strikes me as something for the minority within minority groups that can’t use modern technology. Elderly migrants that probably don’t have the support networks to get online. Fresh refugees who mightn’t have reliable access to internet yet. As it was pointed out, these groups are hardly going to be counted for ratings.

But do ratings really matter for a service like this? It probably costs nothing to produce, the schedules don’t ever change and bandwidth requirements are tiny.


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.


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.