SBS to sell first programatic slots with unnamed free-to-air network in next fortnight

SBS is set to launch its programmatic TV offering in the next fortnight alongside another free-to-air TV network, with an unnamed automotive brand the first to trial it.


The announcement around SBS’ programatic intentions was made at the public broadcaster’s upfront event today in which it launched its new Food Network, announced a documentary about MP Pauline Hanson and revealed Australia will compete in the Eurovision Song Contest again next year.

While SBS sales boss Adam Sadler was cagey on the identity of the other network it is thought to be Seven, which is also using Tubemogul’s platform and announced it was set to move into the programatic space at its upfronts last month.

Sadler told Mumbrella on the sidelines of the event: “We’re looking to have our first programatic buy with another free-to-air network across all our inventory – so not just remnant inventory but across peak and also off peak.”

While SBS’ new offering has Tubemogul as the launch partner Sadler said the broadcaster would look to other vendors as well, adding they are in negotiations with AOL among them.

“We’ll probably look at opening our programatic buying set to AOL and Tubemogul in 2016,” he added.

The broadcaster has also undertaken research to help segment its audience into various profiles, with Sadler saying the broadcaster would be looking at trialling a sign-up system to some parts of its online assets in a bid to help identify and track user behaviour, as it drives towards personalisation across its platforms.

“At this point in time we’re looking at sign ups around specific verticals, whether that is food, film or cycling, and I think what we need to do is start small and gauge the users’ responses to signing up and whether they are receptive of that,” he said.

“Being a public broadcaster we have to be mindful we open our arms to everybody, but we also have to ensure there’s a better user experience around what our user’s interests are. So there’s more of a benefit to the user if we use more of their details than not.”

At October’s National Radio Conference Nine Network’s sales boss Peter Wiltshire hinted the company was looking to implement a similar idea for its catch-up TV service, with logins giving broadcasters a greater ability to target ads to users as TV moves towards an internet-enabled approach.

During the presentation the broadcaster also sent its new channel – Food Network – live, which will feature local and international programming around food. Much of the programming will come from international provider Scripps Networks Interactive, which runs the Food Network in the US.

Among the programming announcements was a new cross-platform event Deep Water – a four-part drama series, a feature documentary and an online prequel series, presenting the full account of the gay hate crime epidemic across Sydney during the 1980s and 1990s.

Director of television and online content, Marshall Heald, added: “Deep Water takes our charter purpose of cultural representation further by examining a time in Australia’s history when social attitudes created a less inclusive society, and we hope this project can play a part into sparking new investigation into unsolved crimes.”

It comes as the broadcaster readies to launch a new online site based around the topic of sexuality, with a focus on LGBTI issues.

The network has made headlines, and gained audiences, this year from some controversial programming including Struggle Street, and while there was no mention of a mooted second series of the documentary there will be a new documentary looking at the impact controversial MP Pauline Hanson has had on race and racism in politics today in Hanson: The Years that Shook Australia. 

Ray Martin’s First Contact will return while a new documentary series The Logan Project will look at the struggles in the multicultural QLD town.

Eurovision, the Tour de France and Australia’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers will also return to the network, and while there was no mention of the A League in the presentation the current deal to show Friday night matches runs until the ned of next season, while it has a three-year deal to show UEFA Champions League highlights.

And Benjamin Law has created a new comedy drama for the network called The Family Law, adapted from his memoir of the same name.

In terms of food programming for the main channel Poh Ling Yeow returns for series two of Poh & Co, Maeve O’Meara will host Food Safari Fire, Adam Liaw returns with Destination Flavour Scandinavia, and former chef turned farmer and food critic, Matthew Evans, goes full circle – from reviewing restaurants to building his own in Gourmet Farmer: Fat Pig Kitchen.

Alex Hayes



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