National broadcasters ABC and SBS have both scored additional funding in the 2013 Federal Budget, handed down by Treasurer Wayne Swan this evening.
ABC is to receive just under $60 million over three years to enhance its news and current affairs services and $30 million over three years for online content distribution.
ABC managing director Mark Scott said the additional funding will help the broadcaster meet its obligations in the digital environment:
“This investment acknowledges two of the prime areas where the ABC is using its digital expertise to deliver on its charter obligations to inform, educate and entertain Australians. The funding will better equip the ABC to provide the mobile and online content that audiences are demanding in ever-increasing numbers.
“It will also allow our news division to create new cross-platform content that showcases the best of the ABC’s journalism, including the work of our new specialist reporters, bureaux and regional resources.”
ABC will also receive a $90 million loan to fund the expansion of its Melbourne-based facilities in Southbank to incorporate radio, television and online operations.
Multicultural broadcaster SBS is to receive an additional $20 million over three years to meet its chartered obligations in the new multi-platform environment.
SBS will also receive an additional $10 million over five years to meet the increased cost of sourcing and producing local content.
Managing director Michael Ebeid said the funding boost is recognition of SBS’ role in serving and promoting Australia’s multicultural society:
“In this budget, Minister Conroy and the government have recognised that demand for SBS’s services will only continue to grow as Australia becomes more and more culturally diverse.”
“This funding will equip SBS to provide the services that are critical to its responsibility to be a broadcaster for all Australians, in a climate where commercial growth is subdued, content costs are increasing and audiences are fragmenting across the myriad of channels, platforms and devices available to them.”
Last month SBS relaunched its secondary channel SBS2 into a youth-focused line-up and recently expanded its radio broadcasting schedule to present programming in 74 languages.
The Budget also commits to funding the expansion of digital television services for both ABC and SBS to an additional 39 areas across regional Australia plus converting 54 community-owned transmission sites to fully managed services to ensure these areas receive the full suite of digital channels.