SBS gets $158m budget windfall to launch FTA indigenous channel

Tanya DenningSBS has been given a substantial financial boost from the Federal government in Wayne Swan’s new budget.

The television network has been awarded an investment of $158.1m, an increase of 27% on previous federal government funding. A spokesperson for SBS said it is the most significant boost the network has ever received.

The funding is to be used in part to transfer responsibility for the National Indigenous television network (NITV) to SBS. Tanya Denning, NITV’s director of content will move into the role of head of the new channel.

A spokesperson for SBS has confirmed that “over 35 NITV staff have been offered, and the vast majority have accepted roles at SBS, with a handful of positions still to be advertised”.  NITV, which launched in 2007, currently employs approximately 50 Australians, 70% of whom are Indigenous.


NITV’s existing programming and distribution will continue until the 1st July 2012, when SBS will assume ownership. A dedicated national free-to-air digital spectrum will be launched in late 2012, making SBS responsible for Australia’s only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander FTA network.

From 1st July 2012, production of NITV news and other programming will move to SBS’s headquarters at Artarmon. According to the release on the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy’s website, Senator Conroy said: “The creation of a truly national free-to-air Indigenous television service, built on the foundations of the existing NITV service, will greatly expand the availability of Indigenous broadcast content for all Australians.”

SBS chairman Joseph Skrzynski said: “SBS welcomes the significant boost to its core funding by the Federal Government. It is recognition that the work of SBS is a vital component of national strategies to ensure the continued success of Australia as a migrant society, maintaining social cohesion in these more difficult economic times. It equips us with the means to address some of the challenges we’ve faced in a changing media landscape and will ensure our ongoing relevance in an ever more multicultural Australia.”


  1. Ann
    9 May 12
    2:05 pm

  2. Good that it is being spent on Australian content for viewing in Australia

  3. Jack B. Nimble
    9 May 12
    5:45 pm

  4. I’m sorry that this will sound so un-PC, but I can’t see the value in this at all. How many viewers will this new channel have? Surely we’re talking a few hundred thousand at MOST, and that’s if SBS is lucky. I’d be surprised if it even reaches six figures. What a waste of money and resources.

  5. Dave
    10 May 12
    9:34 am

  6. Jack be nimble, Jack be a d@#ck.
    Given the state of the world, I would have thought that anyone with an inch of common sense should know that it’s not all about volume and money nowadays. Anything that promotes our Indigenous community and their recorded 50 odd thousand years of living successfully with the land, until western ideals came along and commoditized everything, an ethos that has lead to us ruining the planet in less than 500 hundred years, should be recognized as having a real benefit.
    Exploring ideas and stories that relate directly to this great country of ours, are as important today as ever, even if they are not attracting the same audience as Australia’s got Talent.
    Rock on SBS!!

  7. Hoin
    10 May 12
    4:41 pm

  8. @Jack be Nimble: When I had Foxtel I used to watch NITV quite often and I am not indigenous. The problem with the station was the constant repeating of programs due to lack of funds to produce new shows. Hopefully there will be enough funding to keep the new output up and hopefully without the left-wing bias and preaching that mars the ABC’s indigenous content.