SBS argues the case for more funding
SBS managing director Michael Ebeid has called for increased government funding to enable the broadcaster to commission more Australian content.
“We will continue to advocate for more funding to deliver the level of Australian content that we believe our audiences should be getting and which we think is needed for the health of the local production sector,” Ebeid said in the text of a speech which was delivered on his behalf by SBS head of TV and online content Tony Iffland at the Jobs, Dollars, Hearts and Minds conference in Canberra.
Ebeid indicated SBS would have supported the Convergence Review recommendation that the Federal Government adopt a local content quota of 28%, which would have been a substantial lift from the current level of about 16%, and said SBS would welcome increasing the producer offset for TV drama.
The speech highlighted several upcoming SBS shows including Better Man, a drama about the last Australian man hung overseas in Singapore in 2005, which stars Claudia Karvan, David Wenham and Bryan Brown and airs next month. “It gets SBS back into the drama genre for the first time in three years with content that inspires change,” he said.
Also flagged were Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl, which will give audiences previously unheard perspectives by those involved and affected by the 2005 Cronulla Riots, due to screen in November, accompanied by an Outreach program in the local community; and Legally Brown, a new series featuring Nazeem Hussain which will explore social and racial divisions through comedy to encourage Australians to better value diversity.
The speech continued, “Making local content and telling Australian stories is expensive but it’s essential for the development of our society and capturing our stories for future generations.
“The fact is that SBS is lean and agile. We deliver impactful content, despite operating on one fifth of the average budget of all the other broadcasters. But we want to, we need to, and we are capable of doing more. “