SBS gets Budget boost, set to launch new FTA channel for Indigenous Australians

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BUDGET 2012: SBS is about to get $158.1 million over five years in funding – something long overdue after only getting a measly $20 million three years ago – which also includes plans to launch a brand new digital channel for Indigenous Australians,

“This represents the most significant funding boost SBS has ever had, and will ensure SBS can continue to provide a unique broadcasting service that includes comprehensive television, radio and online services,” Senator Stephen Conroy, Communications Minister, said in a statement.

“Like other broadcasters, SBS operates in a rapidly changing broadcasting landscape, which is being affected by the introduction of digital multi-channels, new digital platforms, and changing audience expectations.”

$95.2 million of the additional funding will be given straight to SBS to “maintain the quality and delivery of existing services [and]… allows the SBS to increase expenditure on commissioned and acquired content,” according to budget papers.

Another $63 million will be given to fund a new digital channel that will provide a new Indigenous television service. This service will essentially duplicate the National Indigenous Television service, which is currently on satellite and on pay television. Both SBS and NITV have been in discussions on what to do because of the similarities of the two services.

The channel is expected to be launched in the second half of 2012, and will also be available on satellite on VAST.

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