SBS’s plea to the government to allow extra advertising space in its prime time to make up for the budget cuts last year has seen a petition against the request attract more than 60,000 signatures.
If the Senate allows the move to go ahead, which will see the broadcaster having up to 10 minutes of ads per hour instead of five, SBS is thought to raise around $28 million over four years,
However, per the ABC, independent senator Nick Xenophon said this was about protecting the public broadcaster, and not having it become a free-to-air network.
“This is actually about protecting a public broadcaster that has done very well over the years in terms of its content and its impact on the Australian society for the better,” the ABC reported him saying.
“If you go down this path there [is] nothing to stop future governments saying … ‘you’re going to get more money from commercial revenue, from advertising revenue; we’re going to cut your budget further’.
“Putting advertising on it, or increased levels of advertising, is, I think, quite destructive of its charter obligations.”
The request from SBS has been much documented over the past few months, however a blow to the broadcaster came last week when Labor MP Ed Husic said he wouldn’t support the plea due to how the broadcaster handled the Struggle Street saga.
Husic questioned the ethics of the broadcaster and the production company Keo Films, suggesting the protagonists in the fly-on-the-wall doco were ridiculed.
“They were treated as simple comedic fodder by SBS, there to be denigrated, demeaned, and all for one purpose and one purpose only — to boost ratings,” Husic said.
“If SBS wants more advertising to promote this type of rubbish TV that has gone on and demeaned the people of the area that I represent, then quite frankly, from my own perspective putting aside all the points that have been expressed by our side in this chamber, I certainly feel they should not have the opportunity to continue to denigrate people.”