Why Nine isn’t very happy with SBS

If you have the time, The Australian today has an excellent and lengthy article by Rosemary Neill on local content.

She raises issues surrounding ABC, children’s TV and Netflix, with quotes from Kim Dalton, Nick Murray, Penny Chapman and Jenny Buckland from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation.

The article also airs Nine’s view, as told to a parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of the film and television industry, which questions SBS using public funds to drive “up the cost of commercially attractive content’’ that fails to reflect its multicultural charter.

Nine was clearly angered when it was outbid by SBS for US food shows it wanted for 9Life.

“Nine consistently finds itself in a competitive bidding process with SBS for programming,’’ Nine said. “SBS’s content acquisitions appear to be based on chasing commercial ratings and revenue while not servicing its charter or target audience,

“Late in Nine’s negotiations with US-based content distributor Scripps … Nine was advised SBS had put a significant commercial offer to them for the food component of the content package.’’

SBS bought the food shows for its Food Network, but Nine cited further examples of SBS invading its commercial territory, including its airing of Alien and Star Trek films. This encroachment, says Nine, “undermines the commercial, free-to-air model’’.

A spokeswoman for SBS rejects Nine’s criticisms, explaining the multicultural broadcaster acquires “some general entertainment programs through cost-effective content deals’’. SBS says its food programming “attracts broader audiences, which enables us to cross-promote … our charter-focused titles’’.

This week it confirmed picking up The Good Wife spin-off, The Good Fight.

SBS is calling for a content quota for its main channel so it can better reflect its charter, but insists a quota would require full government funded.

You can read more here.

8 Comments:

  1. Glass-houses n stones. I can remember when KP outbid the other networks for shows which ended up gathering dust on a shelf. Nine are casting around for a skapegoat for their lacklustre ratings. SBS is an easy target, movies shown in their original aspect ratio, less and shorter ad breaks, watermark often out-of-frame, no pop-ups and no hype. BTW, I have removed 9Life, SBS Food and others from my EPG.
    You don’t hear the pet-food industry complaining when the meat pie makers outbid them for the leftovers.

  2. Secret Squïrrel

    I’m guessing that this “commercial, free-to-air model” that Nine mentions doesn’t involve operating in a free market. So they only want government interference when it suits them – reign in SBS, let them use public spectrum for free, impose restrictions on Netflix, but don’t stop them from broadcasting gambling ads when children are watching.

    Nine under-bid for some low-shelf product for their tertiary channel because they didn’t think anyone else would want it and, as with the Big Bash League, are surprised when someone else makes a better offer.

    If they don’t want SBS to be competing in the advertising market they should lobby the govt to provide SBS with sufficient funding so that they don’t need to show ads.

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