SBS will launch a new national free-to-air Indigenous Television service in late 2012.
It follows the Federal Government’s Budget decision to transfer annual funding from National Indigenous TV Limited to SBS to develop a new, national digital free-to-air channel dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content.
SBS is working with the nation’s Indigenous television service, National Indigenous Television (NITV) to create the new service.
SBS Managing Director Michael Ebeid said: “SBS is honoured and delighted to be delivering this new service which will vastly increase the opportunity for the telling of stories from and by Indigenous communities, and make those stories accessible for the first time to audiences across the country.
“The creation of this channel marks a new stage for Indigenous broadcasting in Australia and SBS is excited to be working with NITV to develop the service.
“SBS acknowledges and respects the importance of maintaining Indigenous editorial responsibility in the delivery of the new channel. We also acknowledge the pioneering role that NITV has played in forging the way for a national Indigenous broadcasting service.”
NITV Chair Ken Reys said: “The NITV board is proud of the work done by NITV’s staff over the last five years in establishing and securing an Indigenous broadcasting service. Having a dedicated channel for Indigenous television on a public broadcasting platform will be an exciting further step for Australia as it will be the first time that all Australians from remote communities to the metropolitan areas will have access to Indigenous programs free-to-air. It brings Australia to the forefront in worldwide steps to promote Indigenous broadcasting.
“NITV’s board and senior management is pleased SBS will ensure that editorial responsibility rests with Indigenous peoples and that NITV staff get the opportunity to share their skills, knowledge and expertise with SBS’s new Indigenous channel.”
SBS will take responsibility for the service from July 1. Between then and the launch of the free-to-air channel SBS will maintain the existing NITV service distributed by Foxtel and satellite.
NITV’s Director of Content Tanya Denning, has accepted the role of head of the new channel.
From July, the NITV news and other programming will be produced in-house at SBS’s Artarmon headquarters.
SBS is committed to maintaining the service to NITV’s existing viewers and attracting new audiences.
When the new channel is launched, it will be broadcast on national free-to-air digital spectrum as part of the SBS suite of channels.