SBS (Australian TV channel)
SBS is a national public television network in Australia. Launched on 24 October 1980, it is the responsibility of SBS‘s television division, and is available nationally. In 2009, SBS had a 5.8% audience share.
SBS began test transmissions in April 1979 when it showed various foreign language programs on ABV-2 Melbourne and ABN-2 Sydney on Sunday mornings. Full-time transmission began at 6.30 pm on 24 October 1980 (United Nations Day) as Channel 0/28. At the time, SBS was broadcasting on UHF Channel 28 and VHF Channel 0. Bruce Gyngell, who introduced television to Australia back in 1956, was given the task of introducing the first batch of programs on the new station. The first program shown was a documentary on multiculturalism entitled Who Are We? which was hosted, produced and directed by well-known Australian journalist Peter Luck.
When transmission would begin for the night, the opening announcement would be as follows:
“Welcome to Channel 0/28 Multicultural Television, Sydney and Melbourne. A section of the Special Broadcasting Service, transmitting on VHF Channel 0 with a vision carrier frequency of 46.25MHz and on UHF Channel 28 with a vision carrier frequency of 527.25MHz. As well as from the Hyatt Kingsgate Tower in Kings Cross, Sydney, on UHF Channel 54 with a vision carrier frequency of 737.25MHz”.
1980s to the 1990s
On 14 October 1983, the service expanded into Canberra on UHF28, Cooma and Goulburn on UHF58 and at the same time changed its name to Network 0–28. Its new slogan was the long-running “Bringing the World Back Home”.
On 18 February 1985, the station changed its name to SBS and began daytime transmissions. In June, SBS expanded to Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Gold Coast. On 5 January 1986 SBS ceased broadcasting on the VHF0 frequency. Although many Australians at the time did not have UHF antennas, SBS’s VHF license had already been extended by a year at this stage and not all antennas had worked well with the low-frequency Channel 0 either. Following this, on 16 March 1986, SBS commenced transmission in Perth, Mount Gambier, Loxton–Renmark, Port Pirie, Broken Hill, Toowoomba, Townsville, Bendigo, Ballarat, Traralgon and Hobart. Darwin was the last capital city to receive the channel, with a local signal launched on 20 May 1994. Other cities that have launched the channel on, between and beyond those days included Maryborough/Wide Bay–Burnett, Rockhampton, Mackay, Katherine, Cairns, Bunbury, Albany, Kalgoorlie, Esperance, Geraldton, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Mount Isa, Orange, Griffith, Mildura, Swan Hill, Wagga Wagga, Albury–Wodonga, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Tamworth and Taree. Shepparton was the last city to launch SBS in the late 1990s.
Although, SBS Television commenced transmissions as a non-commercial television network, in 1991 it began accepting and broadcasting television advertisements (a controversial move at the time). These were shown between programs, rather than interrupting the programs.
The year 2001 saw the introduction of digital terrestrial television in Australia with transmissions available to most of SBS Television‘s coverage area on 1 January 2001, this was soon followed by the gradual introduction of widescreen programming.
The hosts of The Movie Show, David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz, moved to the ABC in April 2004 to host a new program called At the Movies. The Movie Show continued with four new hosts, which included Megan Spencer, Jaimie Leonarder, Fenella Kernebone and Marc Fennell. The final episode of The Movie Show aired in June 2006, after the show was axed. In 2007, The Movie Show returned with a new interactive ten-minute format, presented by Lisa Hensley and Michael Adams.
On 1 June 2009, SBS TV was renamed “SBS ONE” to coincide with the launch of sister channel SBS TWO and later that year, SBS have switched from the Supertext logo to the generic Closed Captioning logo.
As of 10 December 2013, SBS no longer broadcasts on analog TV and is now only available through digital TV or digital set-top box.
In April 2014, SBS and SBS Viceland ended broadcasting Weatherwatch Overnight. On 4 July 2015, SBS ONE changed its name to SBS.
SBS launched a new channel focusing on both local and international food programming on 17 November 2015. The channel, called SBS Food, is available on free to air channel 33.
On 15 November 2016, SBS rebranded their sister station SBS 2 to SBS Viceland with content from US-Canadian broadcaster Vice Media after signing a deal with Vice Media on 23 June 2016.
SBS is required by charter to meet certain programming obligations. Although it has a strong focus on international news and current affairs, it also presents documentaries and educational programs, drama, comedy, films and sport. SBS devotes a significant part of its morning television schedule to news bulletins in languages other than English as well as showing many subtitled, foreign-language films. Its own news and current affairs aim to have a higher concentration on international affairs than the ABC or the commercial networks. It also shows many documentaries and current-affairs programs, while its sports coverage has a strong focus on international sports.
SBS’s drama line-up consists almost entirely of imported content, international productions shown include Inspector Rex, Unit One, Funland, Shameless and Big Love. Recent locally produced programs have included Kick, or East West 101.
Comedy on SBS is primarily locally produced the new show SBS Monday comedy slot but also includes foreign series such as The Ricky Gervais Show, Skins, Bro’ Town, South Park, Corner Gas, Nighty Night and Queer as Folk. The channel presents flagship comedy shows, which include Pizza, Newstopia, Life Support, John Safran, Swift and Shift Couriers, Bogan Pride, in addition to reality television series, Nerds FC, or Song for the Socceroos. As well as this, anime is broadcast, with programs including Neon Genesis Evangelion, Samurai Champloo (as well as shows like Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 and Bleach in the past) and the Studio Ghibli movies, as well as several cult movies. Dadı, the Turkish version of the American sitcom The Nanny was shown on SBS, as were numerous sitcoms, soap operas, drama series and movies in languages other than English, including Mexican and Brazilian telenovelas and Bollywood movies. Such programming is subtitled in English (such subtitling is typically applied by SBS itself via their inhouse subtitling department), but very little such content is now shown on the station; it has been replaced by largely English-language programming.
The remainder of SBS’s schedule consists of English-language lifestyle, music, game and talk shows. These include Iron Chef, RocKwiz, The Movie Show, MythBusters, Top Gear (2005–2009), Global Village, Top Gear Australia, The Food Lovers’ Guide to Australia, Food Safari, Remote Area Nurse, Mum’s the Word, HELP, Vasili’s Garden, Lonely Planet: Six Degrees, Salam Cafe, Inside Australia, Storyline Australia, First Australians, The Nest, My Voice, Oz Concert, the Eurovision Song Contest. In addition to Foreign language film show SBS Film which include the best of international films is also available from The World Movies Channel as aired. Late at night, when there is no scheduled programming, SBS usually broadcasts a weatherwatch program which shows a weather map of Australia. In late 2005, the program was updated to feature weather information from cities around the world, along with a short clip of selected cities.
Since the late 1980s, SBS has screened the 1960s German-made comedy sketch Dinner for one every New Year’s Eve, emulating an annual European TV tradition.
Between 1989 and 2006, the narrator for SBS was . The current narrator is Lani John Tupu.
Since 2008 and 2009, SBS aired shows that expand to music shows including Alchemy (as a part of SBS Radio), Noise TV, and RocKwiz, comedy shows including South Park, Corner Gas, Swift and Shift Couriers, and Iron Chef, lifestyle programs which includes Alchemy Radio, Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Australia, Food Safari, Mum’s The Word, Help, Vasili’s Garden, Lonely Planet: Six Degrees, My Voice, and Top Gear, documentary series such as Cutting Edge, Inside Australia, As It Happened, Lost Worlds, Global Village, and Thalassa, plus news programs such as Dateline, Insight, Living Black, World News Australia, World Watch, The World Game, SBS Sport, FIFA World Cup soccer, The Ashes cricket series, UEFA Cup soccer.
News & Current Affairs
SBS has a range of news and current affairs programming, including its nightly, national, news service SBS World News, investigative programme Dateline, discussion forum Insight, indigenous affairs program Living Black, in addition to its morning & afternoon World Watch timeslot, featuring bulletins in languages other than English. Until early 2007, Toyota World Sport was shown on weeknights until it was axed to accommodate the relaunched, one-hour World News Australia and World Watch.
It also broadcasts foreign language news on its second digital channel SBS Viceland, sometimes it provides additional information, highlights, and statistics for programmes shown on SBS, such as the FIFA World Cup, The Ashes, Olympic Games, and the Australian Football League Grand Final.
SBS Sport currently holds the broadcast rights to a range of sports, which are broadcast on SBS. These primarily include the Tour de France, the World Superbikes, the World Rally Championship, The Ashes, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, FIFA World Cup (every tournament since 1986; shared 2002 tournament with the Nine Network), FIFA Confederations Cup, FA Cup, and the UEFA European Football Championship. SBS also produces and broadcasts a range of sport related programming including The World Game and the UEFA Champions League Magazine. Previously, the channel has broadcast other sporting events including the 2004 Summer Olympics, the 2005 Ashes series and the American National Football League‘s Super Bowl. Previous to this SBS also broadcast live FA Premier League matches until the early 2000s.
The telecast of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was shared by both the Seven Network and SBS, with the Seven Network holding exclusive Australian free-to-air, pay television, online and mobile telephony broadcast rights. SBS provided complementary coverage and focused on long-form events such as soccer, road bicycle racing, volleyball, and table tennis. In contrast, Seven broadcast the opening and closing ceremonies and mainstream sports including swimming, athletics, rowing, cycling and gymnastics.
Current affairs and news involved the broadcasting of many international language news.
Approximately 80% of SBS’ funding comes from the Australian Federal Government. The rest comes from independent sources, including “advertising and sponsorship, production services and sale of programs and merchandise”. In the financial year 2018-19 the broadcaster is slated to receive $272.4 million. 
SBS is available on all of SBS Television‘s television transmitters in SD Digital. The channel only differs from each state during major sporting events, where scheduling times are altered. During the digital changeover between 2010 and 2013, SBS was also simulcast on Analogue.
In 2010 SBS commenced Trial Broadcasts of the FIFA World Cup in 3D on Channel 40.
The SBS HD multichannel was launched on 14 December 2006. It broadcasts identical programming to SBS, but in 1080i HD via Freeview and Optus D1.
On 8 April 2017, alongside the launch of SBS Viceland HD, SBS HD was upgraded to an MPEG-4 format, replacing the standard MPEG-2 format it had used since its inception.
SBS On Demand
SBS On Demand is a video on demand and catch up TV service run by the Special Broadcasting Service. The service became available on 1 September 2011.
SBS On Demand is available on the web and via apps for mobile devices, smart TVs and set-top boxes.
Logo and identity history
The first SBS logo was a gradiented blue and white globe surrounded by a gradiented blue and white ring. The logo was used across all of SBS’s stations, and symbolised transmission on VHF channel 0. In late 1983, Channel 0/28 was renamed Network 0–28, coinciding with a new logo featuring the new name underneath the globe. In 1985, Network 0–28 was renamed SBS TV, coinciding with a new logo featuring the letters SBS underneath the globe, however in 1989, the logo was again updated with the globe removed.
A new SBS logo was launched in 1993, featuring five blue curved splices, described as the “Mercator” logo (named as the shapes look like a mercator globe in 2D), with the letters SBS in white on top. The idents in 1995–2003 usually show the Mercator logo without the letters SBS. The five splices represented the continents of the world and the angle represented the tilt of the Earth’s axis.
The new logo and a major revamp was launched on 7 May 2008, reducing the number of splices into four, and shifting the perspective and angle so that each splice is larger than the last. The logo was modified on 1 June 2009 to coincide with the renaming of the channel to “SBS ONE”.
On July 4, 2015, SBS launched a modified version of its 2008 logo when its main channel changed its name back to ‘SBS’.
1993 – 7 May 2008
7 May 2008 – 31 May 2009
1 June 2009 – 3 July 2015
4 July 2015 – present
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- SBS Corporation