SBS has announced plans to launch a new 24-hour-a-day movie channel from 1 July.
The new channel will broadcast in high definition. SBS will become the only Australian network to have three high-definition channels, with SBS on Channel 30, SBS Viceland on 31 and the new channel on 32.
The new channel marks a significant boost in LOTE (Languages Other Than English) content on SBS which has been lacking for some time. Lobby groups Save Our SBS recently submitted a proposal to the SBS Board to create a new channel based predominantly on LOTE content.
Save Our SBS President Steve Aujard said: “In our submission, we referred to studies that showed that the two most desired program types in peak viewing are foreign language movies (subtitled) scoring 77%, and foreign language TV series (subtitled) scoring 58%. Clearly SBS have focused on the international movie aspect in their new channel.
“Years ago SBS was known for its movies in a variety of languages. Audiences loved that. It dominated primetime viewing and separated SBS from other media.”
In a statement issued Monday, SBS managing director James Taylor said: “Movies provide people with the opportunity to escape to worlds outside of our own, with stories that entertain and inspire us, make us think, laugh and even cry. International cinema does this in a truly unique way, and has been an important part of SBS’s offering for decades, giving Australians the opportunity to delve into cultures through cinematic masterpieces captivating audiences around the world.
“People come to SBS for content they don’t find anywhere else. SBS World Movies has a proud tradition of showcasing the best international films, reflecting the diversity of global cinema, and we’re excited to further evolve this offering and make it available to all Australians for free this July.”
The new channel will broadcast more than 700 films each year, with international titles including recent award winning and critically acclaimed films such as Amanda (France), The 12th Man (Norway), Just A Breath Away (France), Ash is the Purest White (China), Aligarth (India), Girl (Belgium) and Killing of a Sacred Deer (UK).
For over 20 years, SBS presented the World Movies channel on pay-TV. This was wound up in 2018.
SBS also has an extensive catalogue of international movies already available at SBS On Demand.