“We’re Not Intellectually Wanky”: SBS Supremo Michael Ebeid

Michael Ebeid - SBS Managing Director
SHARE
THIS


What best describes you?

B&T grabbed 10 minutes with the ever-charming SBS CEO Michael Ebeid, where Ninja Warrior, media reforms and love were all discussed. Okay, maybe not that last one. Here’s the chat condensed to easily digested nuggets…

SBS is doing so many fantastic shows at the moment, it must be frustrating everyone’s watching Ninja Warrior over at Nine?

Look it is frustrating when you see how much work goes into them. A lot of our (SBS’s) stories are about human interaction, so we’d naturally love more Australians to see them; particularly the documentaries we’re doing about helping us understand each other better.

Is that being a bit intellectually wanky, though? In reality, the average Aussie wants MasterChef and Ninja Warrior?

You could say that, but we’re not about being intellectually wanky because it’s about humans and human connections, be they news, documentaries or drama, it’s about the human connection and understanding each other better. For us it’s all about… our audience wouldn’t see it as intellectually wanky at all… we want to connect with people in Australia who have an inquisitive mind, who want to understand the world, to explore the word, its cultures, its people; they’re the sort of audiences that come to us. Our World News is in a league of its own. We don’t just cover the news, the headlines, we talk about why did that bomb go off? What does that mean to our Australian audiences? What does it mean for the communities in this country that come from those countries, and we go into that depth, that analysis, and that really adds value to people’s lives.

Where do you see SBS sitting in the current media zeitgeist? Your detractors would say you should merge with the ABC, the free-to-airs don’t want you taking any more of their ad dollars; plus, we’ve got new media reforms on the way… It’s confusing times?

Right now I’d say I am very glad that I am the CEO of a niche network that is very targeted on what it does and what it delivers; as opposed to running a media organisation that is very general entertainment because they’re all the same at the moment, they’re all doing very similar stuff and SBS is truly doing unique content that no one else is doing…

But Seven, Nine and Ten have to chase the ratings, the ad dollars…

Yes, but that’s the very reason we’ve been very successful this year, we’ve seen an increase in our numbers in both audience reach and share because we offer something different to what everybody else is doing. And one thing we always try and do at SBS is to try and make sure our content is always truly unique, we don’t want content that everybody else has got, and so to be able to offer Australians an alternative is what’s really helping us.

You were a strong candidate for the ABC job [before Michelle Guthrie was appointed in December 2015]…

No, there was a lot of media speculation about that, and the fact is I wasn’t actually a candidate at all.

Do you think that SBS probably doesn’t get the recognition it deserves?

I’ve never judged our success by our overall market share. I judge our success on a couple of other things. One is our reach, because we’re reaching 14 million Australians every month. People don’t necessarily come and watch us night, after night, after night, hour, after hour, as they might do with Seven or Nine. They come to us for certain programs and that means we’re engaging with more Australians than we ever have been in our history. Go back five years and our reach was eleven million and it’s now 14 million, so that’s three million more Australians watch SBS every month than they did a few years ago. The other thing that’s been amazing is SBS On Demand. Because our shows aren’t live, reality TV, competition based, our shows you can watch On Demand when it suits you and not when our schedulers tell you. Two million Australians are registered users of SBS On Demand, we’re delivering 20 million video views every month, and that’s a huge figure. On our anecdotal research, to compare that to our TV reach of about seven or eight per cent, with On Demand we’re getting about 20 per cent or more of all cathch-up viewing in Australia. Take away ABC Kids, because we don’t have any kids’ content, then it’s more like 30 per cent.

Advertising on SBS? The government wants you to be more self-funded, Labor doesn’t, while the free-to-airs would prefer you had no advertising at all. Your stance on that?

Let me clarify that. Firstly, it was never SBS asking for more ad time, it was the government that wanted to give us more ad time because they wanted to reduce our funding. Look, our audiences accept that we have five minutes of ads every hour because they know that the money goes back into production, it goes back into SBS and that means we can do more things. The government then decided to withdraw that legislation, that was their decision, and we’re quite happy working with the five minutes of ads an hour. This year we’ll generate over $100 million of our own commercial revenue and that money enables us to do a lot more Australian commissions and we want to tell more Australian stories and our ambition is to try and increase our Australian content from where it is today, but we need more funding to do that.

The media story of 2017 has been the shenanigans over at Seven with Worner and Harrison etc. Your views on that? Has that proven fortuitous for SBS in any way?

That’s something I’m not going to comment on, ha, ha, ha!

 

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Carat’s Chief Digital Officer Talks Brand Safety & Twitter’s Video Power
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Partner Content

Carat’s Chief Digital Officer Talks Brand Safety & Twitter’s Video Power

B&T recently sat down for a one-on-one with Carat’s chief digital officer, Sarah James, to discuss one of the burning industry issues – brand safety. Here, she weighs up the pros and cons of programmatic in this context, and argues why advertisers’ need for Twitter will grow in the future. When did brand safety first […]

Partner Content

by Twitter

Yellow Tail Appoints Paper Stone Scissors For China Push
  • Advertising

Yellow Tail Appoints Paper Stone Scissors For China Push

Casella Family Brands has announced it has appointed creative agency Paper Stone Scissors to localise the iconic Yellow tail (stylised [yellow tail]) brand for Chinese consumers. The appointment follows a competitive agency tender in September Paper Stone Scissors will be responsible for the strategic, digital and creative development and production of the 2018 Yellow Tail campaign […]

Filtered Media Announces Nine New Hires
  • Advertising
  • Media

Filtered Media Announces Nine New Hires

Integrated brand storytelling agency, Filtered Media, continues its rapid growth with the mid-sized company appointing nine new team members in recent times, and moving to expansive new premises. Two senior hires include Nicole Manktelow as content director and storyteller for Filtered Media’s finance and technology practice, and Nick Ross as senior manager, content and analytics, a newly created role designed […]

Red Rooster Unveils Saucy Tinder Campaign Results
  • Marketing
  • Media

Red Rooster Unveils Saucy Tinder Campaign Results

Red Rooster’s Tinder campaign launched late last month – with results immediately revealing some very interesting differences between men and women. In a first for the brand, Red Rooster’s latest campaign took to the popular dating app Tinder, integrating the swipe function into its advertising and targeting customers in a whole different way. Red Rooster’s […]

Infographic: Aussies Set To Choose Kmart For Christmas (With 33% Admitting They’re Re-Gifters)
  • Marketing

Infographic: Aussies Set To Choose Kmart For Christmas (With 33% Admitting They’re Re-Gifters)

A new study into the Christmas shopping habits of Australians has found that Kmart will be our number one retailer of choice this year, with, interestingly, Amazon struggling to rate much of a mention. The study, by Melbourne customer insights agency Honeycomb, involved the responses of 1000 Aussies and their festive shopping habits. It found 55 per cent said they’d […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
QMS Media Expands Presence In Melbourne With New Digital Billboard ‘The G’
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Media Expands Presence In Melbourne With New Digital Billboard ‘The G’

Outdoor media company QMS Media has strengthened its digital outdoor presence in Victoria, unveiling an iconic digital billboard in the heart of Melbourne’s famous sporting precinct. The launch of ‘The G’ sees QMS’ landmark digital portfolio ‘bookending’ arguably one of the most iconic and in-demand digital outdoor locations in Australia – Richmond Station Bridge – […]

HSBC Sydney 7s Creates New Visual Identity For 2018 Via Digilante
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

HSBC Sydney 7s Creates New Visual Identity For 2018 Via Digilante

As part of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, the Sydney 7s event returns in January complete with a new brand identity, creative strategy and media campaign. With the 2017 Sydney 7s a sell-out event, the challenge for 2018 was to carry that momentum into the third year, defining Sydney’s place as the new ‘go-to’ […]

Bound Round Launches Family Travel Publication for Aussies
  • Media

Bound Round Launches Family Travel Publication for Aussies

Family travel platform Bound Round has announced the launch of its first e-magazine to Australian consumers. Travel Bound is a family-focused, digital quarterly publication available on all Virgin Australia flights through the carrier’s in-flight entertainment system, and is also available for consumer download via the Bound Round website. Bound Round founder and CEO Janeece Keller […]

SBS Unveils New Look, New App For SBS News
  • Media

SBS Unveils New Look, New App For SBS News

Do you like say "I only watch SBS" in an attempt to sound smarter than you are? Well, why not pretend to read this too?

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-Samsung CMO Joins Amazon Australia As Marketing Director
  • Marketing

Ex-Samsung CMO Joins Amazon Australia As Marketing Director

Amazon Australia has appointed former Samsung Electronics chief marketing officer (CMO) Arno Lenior to lead its marketing division. Lenior worked as Samsung’s CMO for more than three years before departing in 2015. According to his LinkedIn profile, he has also held CEO roles at VR company Virtical and brand consultancy Blue Ocean Brands, and joined […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
News Corp Names Its Car Of The Year
  • Marketing

News Corp Names Its Car Of The Year

News announces its annual Car Of The Year and it's not what you'd expect. Well, we certainly didn't expect it anyway.

Aussie Tennis Open & Country Road Announce New Partnership
  • Marketing

Aussie Tennis Open & Country Road Announce New Partnership

The Australian Open has partnered with iconic Australian clothing and lifestyle brand Country Road to supply the uniforms for next year’s tournament. Confirmed today as the official fashion lifestyle Partner of Australian Open 2018, one of Australia’s most loved brands will be worn by thousands of tournament staff at Melbourne Park in January. On-court officials including the chair and […]

Andrew O’Keefe Quits His Weekend Sunrise Duties
  • Media

Andrew O’Keefe Quits His Weekend Sunrise Duties

After 12 years with Weekend Sunrise, Andrew O’Keefe has decided to step away from his hosting and reporting duties. O’Keefe will continue his full-time role as host of Seven’s quiz show The Chase Australia, as well as focus on other projects with the Network. “The ideal job is doing work you love with people you love,” O’Keefe […]

Study: Brand Loyalty Hinges On Customer Support Experiences
  • Marketing

Study: Brand Loyalty Hinges On Customer Support Experiences

Fast and effective support will be a competitive differentiator for companies looking to win over digitally transformed customers and employees, new research has revealed. According to a study by IDC and LogMeIn titled Support Services as a Competitive Differentiator, nearly 67 per cent of consumers said that customer satisfaction was more important than price when […]

OMA Appoints Red Ant Design To Build Industry’s First Automated Proposal Platform
  • Advertising
  • Media

OMA Appoints Red Ant Design To Build Industry’s First Automated Proposal Platform

The Outdoor Media Association (OMA) has announced the appointment of Red Ant Design to build the out-oh-home (OOH) industry’s first automated proposal platform (APP). After an extensive global search and industry consultation, the decision to build the system in-house with a local Australian company was made. The APP will be built in an agile process, […]

Nick Ballard, Managing Director
Australia & New Zealand, BlisMedia
  • Marketing
  • Technology

Blis Unveils New Consumer Behaviour Analytics Tool For Maketers

Location data technology company Blis has launched an analytics tool that allows marketers to analyse consumer behaviour – from audience profiling, to exposure, to attribution – by capturing and activating mobile movement data. Smart Trends offers robust in-store consumer behavioural insights and in-store comparison of multiple location types and brands, allowing marketers to break down demographic, […]

WiTH Collective Linked By Isobar Renames Colours Of The Great Barrier Reef As Part Of New Campaign
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

WiTH Collective Linked By Isobar Renames Colours Of The Great Barrier Reef As Part Of New Campaign

The Great Barrier Reef is under threat, and WiTH Collective – part of Isobar Australia Group – has launched a social movement to protect it. The ‘Unite for the Reef’ campaign will put vivid pops of colour into millions of social media feeds as a global network of individuals united to pledge support for the future of the Great Barrier Reef.  Spearheaded […]

Imagination Unveils Creative For Sydney’s NYE 2017 Celebrations
  • Marketing

Imagination Unveils Creative For Sydney’s NYE 2017 Celebrations

The City of Sydney has unveiled the creative line-up for 2017 Sydney New Year’s Eve celebrations, including a new look and theme for Australia’s largest public event, conceived by experience agency Imagination. In its seventh year as the creative team behind the event, Imagination has set out to create a fresh, inspiring new theme and […]

Rogue Penis Radio Prank Goes Horribly Awry
  • Media

Rogue Penis Radio Prank Goes Horribly Awry

This radio prank has it all - a rogue willy, tears & humiliation. The only surprise is it doesn't have Kyle Sandilands.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Stockland Invites Aussies To ‘Share Some Unexpected Joy’ This Christmas In New TVC Via Lavender
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Stockland Invites Aussies To ‘Share Some Unexpected Joy’ This Christmas In New TVC Via Lavender

Shopping Centre group Stockland has released an emotive campaign across its 40 national social and owned media channels via CX agency Lavender. The ‘Share Some Unexpected Joy’ campaign tells the story of Lucy, a thoughtful Australian girl who recognises that just like her and her mother, some of their neighbours will be spending Christmas alone this […]

QMS Switches On Digital Transaction Platform In NZ
  • Advertising
  • Media

QMS Switches On Digital Transaction Platform In NZ

In a New Zealand first for large format roadside digital, QMS Media is launching a digital transaction platform in conjunction with Rubicon Project and Digital Commons, who will represent the product in the market. Operating on a ‘guaranteed orders’ principle, advertisers will have the opportunity to buy QMS premium digital inventory nationwide via the Rubicon […]

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne’s SNICKERS ‘Hungerithm’ Goes Global
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne’s SNICKERS ‘Hungerithm’ Goes Global

Following its huge success locally, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne’s ‘Hungerithm’ platform it conceptualised for SNICKERS is rolling out across US and European markets. The US has been the first region to roll out the platform through a nationwide partnership with 7-Eleven’s plus-9,000 stores. The launch of the Hungerithm in the US sees the platform pick up […]

Interbrand Australia Appoints whiteGREY’s Davy Rennie As CX Director
  • Marketing

Interbrand Australia Appoints whiteGREY’s Davy Rennie As CX Director

Brand consultancy Interbrand Australia has announced the appointment of Davy Rennie as its director of customer experience (CX). In this new role, Rennie will deliver solutions across Interbrand’s clients including Telstra, Event Hospitality and Entertainment, and The Star. Rennie joins Interbrand armed with more than 10 years’ experience across digital, innovation and customer strategies. With […]