Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Facts about SBS advertising

24 March 2015

In response to a recommendation in the ABC and SBS Efficiency Study, and following the government's announcements on the sustainability of the public broadcasters in November last year, this week the government will introduce the Communications Legislation Amendment (SBS Advertising Flexibility and Other Measures) Bill 2015 to provide the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) with increased flexibility in the scheduling of advertising.

This Bill will amend the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 to allow the SBS to show up to 10 minutes of advertising per hour but not exceed the existing daily limit of 120 minutes.

The 120 minute daily cap on advertising is well below the 350 minutes per day the commercial broadcasters can devote to advertising.

In the short term, additional advertising revenue will be directed towards meeting the government's efficiency savings applied to SBS from 2015-16. If the SBS advertising measures in the Bill are not passed before the end of this financial year, SBS will need to find other ways to achieve the necessary savings, which it has indicated may involve reductions in programming and/or services.

In the longer term, the government's intention from these changes is that SBS becomes a stronger and more sustainable broadcaster. Advertising flexibility strengthens SBS by making it less dependent on Government and helps secure its future and independence.

It is anticipated that the SBS advertising measures will result in an increase in SBS's advertising revenue of $28.5 million over four years from 2015-16. In later years, if they exceed that run rate, the additional revenues can be directed towards delivering more distinctive and innovative content and services in line with its Charter responsibilities.

The additional advertising revenue received by SBS is highly unlikely to have a material impact on the advertising revenue of the commercial broadcasting industry, which totalled $3.9 billion in 2013-14.

The government acknowledges the opposition to this Bill from the commercial television networks, but these figures clearly demonstrate that any economic impact from the changes proposed in this Bill is not material to their earnings.

Free to air television advertising revenues since 2006-07:

Financial Year SBS All Commercial FTA networks
2006-07 41.7 million 3.6 billion
2007-08 50.2 million 3.8 billion
2008-09 56.9 million 3.5 billion
2009-10 World Cup 77.6 million 3.7 billion
2010-11 57.2 million 4 billion
2011-12 51.9 million 3.8 billion
2012-13 58 million 3.8 billion

World Cup

73.4 million 3.9 billion

Media contact:

David Bold: Office of Malcolm Turnbull MP, 0427 784 451

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