Inside story of adland The Pitch to feature on relaunched SBS2

SBS2 will have its own answer to ABC’s Gruen Planet with documentary series The Pitch – set inside advertising agencies – as part of the new channel’s lineup.

The public service broadcaster revealed its plans for the new 16 to 39-focused channel this morning.

The Pitch aired on AMC in the US last year with eight initial episodes. A further series has since been commissioned.

Each episode goes behind the scenes at two north American ad agencies as they go head-to-head for a piece of business.

The new channel – the work of director of TV and online content Tony Iffland and marketing director Helen Kellie – will launch on April 1. It is targeting “thinking 30somethings”.

View The Pitch trailer:

While most SBS2 content will be made up of overseas acquisitions, some of which will have already run on subscription television, the network is to launch a new 7.30pm news bulletin, which will run for 15 minutes. It will also be supplemented with 30 second news updates between shows. A presenter for the show is currently being recruited.

Recognising the trend towards the audience watching an entire series through downloading pirated content, three key shows will be available to watch in their entirety at SBS On Demand immediately after the first episode has aired. It is the first time an Australian network has taken that approach. The three Back 2 Back series will be Eddie Izzard in Bullet In The Face, documentary series Don’t Tell My Mother and The Tales Of Nights.

The network will also air British shows Him & Her, Threesome and Skins.

Other signature shows will be Russell Howard’s Good News and US cult comedy Community.

The rebrand – created by SBS’s in-house creative team – will be heavily themed in orange.

SBS2 currently takes a very small slice of the free to air audience – according to yesterday’s metro OzTAM ratings, for instance, it took a share of just 1.5%. Asked for a target share after the relaunch, SBS MD Michael Ebeid said: “We haven’t discussed that.” Kellie said the channel was aiming to deliver five shows every six months that rated above 200,000.

Iffland told Mumbrella that the SBS2 project had begun on his very first day with the network.

While most of the limited budget will go on acquiring overseas content, which is cheaper than commissioning local shows, Iffland told Mumbrella: “News will not be our only commission.”

He saiud that he heoped to commission more shows “in the medium term”, as budget became available.

The network will also create an online comedy portal. Asked what production companies should pitch to him, Iffland dsaid: “Production companies need to see the channel first. And I cannot help but feel that the key is going to be around content ideas. We will be looking for new talent.” But he warned: ‘It will be a digital channel budget.”


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