ABC and SBS to get funding boost with new SVOD measures also coming into play

Both the ABC and SBS, publicly funded broadcasters, have received a funding boost ahead of the imminently announced upcoming federal election.

The Morrison government has committed $4.2 billion towards the ABC and SBS over a three-year period beginning 1 July this year, running to 30 June 2025.

Increased funding for the PSB with an election on the horizon

Minister for communications, urban Infrastructure, cities, and the arts, Paul Fletcher MP said this morning:  “The ABC and SBS are essential components of Australia’s diverse media landscape.”

“We’ve delivered an increase in funding for both national broadcasters compared to both the 2016-19 and 2019-22 funding period. This funding commitment is designed to provide certainty for both broadcasters and is being announced well in advance of the next funding period to assist the ABC and SBS to develop their forward plans.”

He also said that the increasing funding allows both broadcasters to continue to provide innovative, comprehensive and high-quality television, radio, and digital media services.

As part of the $4.2 billion, the ABC will receive $3.28 billion over the period, while SBS will receive $953.7 million. $45.8 million of the funding for the ABC is under the Enhanced News Gathering program aimed at “strengthening local public interest in regional communities”.

The increases represent a $87.2 million rise for the ABC and a $56.7 million rise for SBS over the three-year period.

The ABC will receive $3,284.9 million over the next three years. This includes $45.8 million under the Enhanced News Gathering program to strengthen local public interest journalism in regional communities. This is an increase of $87.2 million over the current triennium.

The SBS funding includes an additional $37.5 million to support its “long-term sustainability”.

This morning the minister also revealed a series changing measures in relation to media policy that come as a result of consultation process starting with a Green Paper in November 2020.

The new measures include a proposed scheme to further incentivise, and require “large SVOD services to invest in Australian content”. Current SVOD players in the market include Paramount+, Netflix, Stan, Disney+, and Binge.

Fletcher said: “As well as a number of specific actions the Government is taking now, we are setting out the next steps for Government to work with the broadcast television sector on a future regulatory structure that is optimised for the technology changes the sector faces.”

This further includes:

  • The extension of transitional support to relevant regional broadcasters for two additional years.
  • A National Broadcasters Reporting Framework to provide the Government and the public with enhanced information on the provision of Australian content by the ABC and SBS.
  • A recalibrated drama expenditure requirement for subscription television broadcasters.
  • A $10 million Journalist Fund to support the provision of public interest journalism in the regions

In December, the ABC added over 50 additional journalist roles in regional locations as a result of deals struck with Meta (formerly Facebook Inc) and Google.

Following the passage of the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code in February, which included the public broadcasters, the ABC entered into commercial negotiations with the digital platforms.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.