Independent media agency TMS believes any Government austerity measures which force funding cuts at SBS is a concern for media buying agencies.
Communications minister Stephen Conroy has warned that the Coalition will take a budget axe to the ABC and the SBS if they win the upcoming election. This follows Opposition minister Malcolm Turnbull hinting yesterday that funding cuts to the ABC & SBS could be on the cards if a Coalition government was elected in September,
"Who's to say – there may be cuts right across the board,” said Turnbull on the OurSay Communications Debate. “If there is a broader austerity of some kind across the board then all departments may have to bear some of the pain."
Andrew Lamb (pictured), managing director at TMS, told B&T that while it’s hard to know what the effect will be until its understood how big the cut is likely to be, it remains a worry for buying agencies.
“Clearly if there is a cut, there will be a cut to the quality of locally produced content, which could lead to ratings cuts for SBS – so yes, that is a concern,” said Lamb.
“It seems like speculation only at the moment, however if it occurs then upper socio economic and ethnic eyeballs will migrate to other channels.”
Senator Conroy said that, “When it comes to the national broadcasters, the Coalition can’t be trusted", pointing to the Coalition stripping $55 million per year from the ABC in its first budget the last time they were in Government.
"This is in stark contrast to the Gillard Government. As part of the 2012-13 Budget, the Government provided the SBS with its most significant funding boost ever,” he added.