Howcroft calls for SBS to move headquarters to Parramatta

The chairman of television industry marketing body Think TV has suggested multicultural broadcaster SBS should move its headquarters to Parramatta.

Speaking at the Screen Forever conference in Melbourne, Russel Howcroft – who is also GM of Network Ten – made the suggestion in response to a question about whether the two publicly funded broadcasters ABC and SBS should be merged.


Opposing that idea if such an organisation carried advertising which would compete with the existing free-to-air players, Howcroft said: “SBS should move to Parramatta. That should be their head office. They could clearly differentiate the organisation and go to the – as we know – absolute centre of Sydney, which is the centre of all sorts of ethnic groups.”


Howcroft: Let’s recreate SBS and stick it out at Parramatta

SBS is currently based in Artarmon, near North Sydney.

Howcroft went on: “It’s absolutely vibrant out there in Parramatta. And wouldn’t that be an interesting statement?

“Let’s not merge it, let’s recreate it and stick it out in Parramatta.”

Think TV’s members include Seven, Nine, Ten and Foxtel, but not SBS.

Howcroft, who opened the conference before sitting on a Q&A panel hosted by the ABC’s Virginia Trioli, also hit out at the influence of digital players such as Facebook and Google on marketers, and said that Think TV had been created to counteract this.

He said: “We read almost daily about the supposed demise of TV as if the millennials are not going to flop on the couch and ask to be entertained when their kids are born.

“The demise of TV is a distorted narrative that’s driven by the self interested technology companies in the west coast of the US. Contorted by the pressure on marketers to appear innovative, in search for their next job and bent out of shape by the prism which many of us in the media bubble inaccurately view the viewing habits of the general population.

“And it has to stop, because it threatens to damage brands, production values and jibs, and our industry as a whole.

“To be fair, TV has not always done a great job at putting the facts straight. It’s not right and this needs to be fixed.”

Trioli told delegates to the conference that she would put Howcroft’s suggestion to SBS boss Michael Ebeid when she interviews him on stage at the event on Thursday.

A spokesman for SBS told Mumbrella: “With employees across different cities, SBS tells stories from around the nation. The location of our headquarters is of no consequence. We’re focused on investing our resources in great programs, not moving offices.”


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