SBS Upfront: Network reveals biggest investment in local content

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 18 November 2020
The Unusual Suspects

SBS is doubling down on local content next year, revealing its biggest commitment to local commissioned content for both drama series and one-off documentaries.

At its upfront today, the last from the TV networks this year, SBS revealed it has commissioned five new drama series across SBS and SBS On Demand, including Copping it Black, New Gold Mountain and The Unusual Suspects for SBS. On its BVOD platform SBS On Demand, it has commissioned two new Digital Originals; Iggy & Ace and The Tailings.

“2020 has demonstrated the distinctive and vital role of SBS as a contemporary, multilingual Australian broadcaster - part of the very fabric of our multicultural Australia - in an extraordinary way,” says SBS managing director James Taylor.

“We are reaching and engaging with more Australians than ever before, and next year we will continue to support diverse communities, reflect and celebrate contemporary Australia in all its glorious diversity, bring Australians together and connect with audiences in a way that others can’t.”

Additionally, SBS has made its biggest commitment to one-off documentaries in 2021, with 10 new documentaries in two collections - Australia Uncovered and Untold Australia.

In partnership with Documentary Australia Foundation, Australia Uncovered features seven stand-alone documentaries including Australia vs Anxiety, The Bowraville Murders, Strong Female Lead. Untold Australia returns for a fifth installment of three documentaries including Birdsville or Bust and Bowled Over.

SBS On Demand, which has nine million registered users, will premiere 160 hours of new drama every month next year. The platform will add three languages to its end-to-end multilingual experience, with Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese to be introduced.

“We’ll continue to lead the BVOD streaming category with our superior user experience on SBS On Demand,” says Adam Sadler, SBS director of media sales.

“New technology enhancements, including partnering with TEG Analytics and Adobe, and the introduction of in-language targeting, will allow advertisers to more effectively reach and connect with audiences.

“With marketing budgets under more pressure than ever, including SBS in your media schedule can be a small step to making a big difference for clients. In what we call the SBS Butterfly Effect, we can demonstrate that by moving 10 per cent of a client’s TV advertising budget to SBS, the overall TV campaign cost can be reduced by 30 per cent. That’s the commercial benefit of a hard to reach audience.”

After being cancelled this year due to the pandemic, Eurovision will return to SBS in 2021, as well as Tour de France, the US Open Finals and the National Basketball League. SBS is also continuing its investment in the food category with the new 200-episode series, The Cook Up with Adam Liaw.

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