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Our Story

SBS: what's the story?

SBS was founded on the belief that all Australians, regardless of geography, age, cultural background or language skills should have access to high quality, independent, culturally-relevant Australian media.

The multiple language programs available through SBS Television, Radio and Online ensure that all Australians, including the estimated three million Australians who speak a language other than English in their homes, are able to share in the experiences of others, and participate in public life.  The quality of our programs and the multiplicity of our viewpoints come from the freedom we have to draw on the best of all cultures for our programming.

Working at SBS we are bound together by a vision for programs that have meaning and make a difference; we share a passion for what we do and a set of principles that guide our progress.  

Being brave, being committed to life-changing programming, makes each of our jobs at SBS harder in some ways, but it also makes the rewards (and the awards) so much sweeter.

Nobody else does it like we do.

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is a rare beast: inclusive, courageous, interested in individuals and trusted by Australians.

Through SBS Radio, SBS Television and SBS Online, we tell the stories of humankind in more languages than any other broadcaster in the world; at last count, 74 languages on radio, more than 60 on television and more than 50 online.

Australia's cultural and creative identity is expansive, shaped by all Australians regardless of their origin or language. SBS is driven by a Charter that demands we "provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia's multicultural society". 

Our charter ensures a commitment to our audience and to making a difference; beyond that, our passion and our drive, our curiosity and creativity force us to think past the mundane into ground-breaking ideas, and quality programs.

A professional story:  Storytelling was one of the major forms of entertainment in the medieval Chinese cities of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). "Telling tales" or shuohua contained both spoken and sung performances on all manner of subjects from love to crime and history. Professional storytellers commonly worked at temple fairs, in entertainment booths, teahouses and wineshops.

"Multicultural" - the new definition

In the 21st century, multiculturalism means more than bringing the cultures of other worlds into your home.  It is reflecting back to us the increasingly multicultural spirit of our own community. SBS celebrates diversity and contributes to the social inclusion and cross-cultural understanding of all Australians - linguistically, sociologically and culturally.

SBS Future

Our vision for the next decades includes the production and acquisition of more hours of original multicultural programming on SBS TV; more digital television and radio channels giving access to more in-language shows; and an increased online presence.

Why seven billion?

Quite apart from matching our acronym (Seven Billion Stories/Special Broadcasting Service) we realised that at our essence, SBS is about showcasing unique stories that enrich, entertain and educate us.  The world is populated by more than seven billion people, and each has a story waiting to be told.

Our visual branding or "story" encapulates what SBS stands for - the values that drive our unique ability to tell stories that are courageous, independent and distinctive; quality stories that our broadcaster peers can't or won't tell; to reflect contemporary Australia, to explore and connect diverse cultures and perspectives.

Seven Billion Stories... and one of those is yours.

A populous story: The United Nations estimates there will be 9.2 billion humans inhabiting the earth by the year 2050. As SBS celebrates humanity without borders or barriers, we look forward to nine billion stories and counting.