SBS says it intends to add nine new digital radio channels with “distinctive, credible and culturally relevant Australian perspectives on local and international issues as part of its plans for the future”.
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The multicultural broadcaster recently outlined its strategies in a public document called ‘SBS’s Plans for the Future’ and is seeking public comment. It will then use the document as the basis for future funding bids.
Other plans include to make all SBS content available streamed online and on-demand, and to increase the number of TV channels offered by the corporation to four.
But in a case of ‘show me the money’, SBS MD Shaun Brown noted that “Without a considerable new investment by the Australian Government, SBS will not be able to continue to deliver its unique service and is likely to be marginalised in the new digital media environment.”
The report also outlined radio’s digital plans, including the “introduction of digital radio transmission will create an exciting and much needed opportunity for SBS to meet the needs and demands of its diverse language audiences and service different generations of multicultural Australian audiences in their common language”.
This initiative will deliver content for two new services to be made available immediately on SBS digital television and online platforms and on the digital radio platform as it is rolled out.
SBS said its radio programs are designed to be “a ‘welcome mat’ helping audiences understand and engage with Australian society and Australian values” and that it “is a lifeline to ageing Australians of non-English speaking backgrounds through its broadcasts which include government and community service information”.
Audience demand is well beyond capacity of current analogue spectrum, according to the broadcaster, although no time frame was quoted with this announcement.