SBS to advertisers: I told you so

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 1 May 2015

SBS says the news that Seven is mulling over launching a Chinese-language product is evidence of what it's been screaming at the advertising industry for years – that there's a huge opportunity in the multicultural market.

Yesterday Seven confirmed is was thinking about the service, but said it was in the very early stages of doing so. It said it may be looking at hybrid broadcast broadband TV (HbbTV) delivery for such as service.

Multicultural marketing firms applauded the thinking, saying the weight that Seven could provide would be a boon to brands looking at the space.

“It has been frustrating that we haven’t had this sort of outlet before," managing director of multicultural marketing agency Etcom, Thang Ngo, told AdNews.

"We’ve tried things like placing ads in Chinese language newspapers and even with pay TV operators in China, but it’s nothing like the scale of opportunity a player like Seven could provide”.

Many have questioned, however, why Seven would have the commercial weight to launch such a service when SBS supposedly has the market cornered.

In response to questions posed by AdNews, SBS refused to say that it had dropped the ball on the multicultural market, allowing Seven to waltz in.

“SBS has been telling the media market for years now that Australia’s diversity is changing which makes SBS more relevant than ever before,” an SBS spokesperson said.

“We’ve been delivering rich Asian content and indeed content which reflects multicultural Australia for 40 years. Clients come to SBS as a leader in this space, for a unique multicultural offering which they cannot get anywhere else.

“SBS is also serving that market increasingly in the digital space, as we believe it is vital to deliver communities cross-platform content, beyond traditional linear television.”

There is ongoing speculation that SBS is pivoting to become more “mainstream” in its content.

An ex-SBS source has told AdNews previously that it is increasingly focusing on 'tentpole' programming it can build strong advertising support around such as the Tour de France, Tropfest, and Eurovision.

SBS could also soon be allowed to sell more ads during primetime by decreasing the amount of ads its shows in other parts of the schedule as a part of government cuts to the service, with the value of doing so to the network a hot topic.

Multicultural marketing is already in full swing in Australia. Kellogg’s, at the start of this year, undertook a localised, event-driven campaign to encourage Chinese and Indian families to consider eating cereal for breakfast, with a combined wave
of media activity in the Chinese and Indian press and awareness PR campaigns during Chinese New Year and Diwali.

You can read more about Seven's idea in today's edition of the AdNews magazine (1 May). Subscribe to AdNews in print or get it now on iPad.

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