Policies & Publications

Guidelines for the Sponsorship of SBS News Properties

1. Introduction
SBS is a national broadcaster primarily funded by government appropriations. SBS can supplement its revenue through corporate support. Commercial relationships are conducted in accordance with the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (SBS Act). Commercial activities must not clash with the SBS Charter or compromise SBS’s editorial independence and integrity. Independence or integrity may be compromised where a public perception could be created that this is the case.

In order to attract revenue to support the development and delivery of SBS’s distinctive content, including SBS’s high quality, independent news and current affairs services, SBS allows sponsorship of two out of three of the following news properties in any one bulletin: World News Australia Finance Segment, Sport Segment and Weather Segment – 18:30 and 22:30 bulletins.

2. Approval process
SBS Sales will target potential sponsors in keeping with audience expectations and the SBS brand. All potential sponsors will be referred to the Director Sales and Director News and Current Affairs for final approval.

Legal advice will be provided in relation to whether there is any compromise to SBS’s editorial independence and integrity.

3. Acceptable sponsors
Brands which will not be targeted, or approved, are those which are likely to negatively impact the SBS brand and SBS’s editorial independence and integrity. Caution will be exercised in relation to brands/organisations which are regularly reported in the news or which might be involved in a political campaign.

4. Upward referral
Where the Director Sales and Director News and Current Affairs cannot reach  agreement on the suitability of a sponsor the matter will be referred up to the Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and Director Strategy and Communication for discussion, and a final decision.

5. Identifying sponsors
Sponsors will be identified through sponsorship announcements in accordance with the SBS Act, the SBS Codes of Practice and SBS’s Editorial Guidelines. The following guidelines apply to sponsorship announcements and sponsored properties.

  • Statements to be included in the sponsorship announcement which purport to be fact will be fact-checked for accuracy by SBS.
  • The sponsorship announcement will be presented as a 10 second billboard directly before the sponsored property.
  • The sponsorship announcement will use the following (or similar) format: “This [property] brought to you by [brand/product]. [Brand/product tagline or statement].”
  • Brand/product taglines or statements:
    • may use slogans that identify the brand/product;
    • must not refer to political matter or any other matter that SBS considers to be controversial or potentially divisive to the community;
    • must not imply endorsement by SBS;
    • must not include statements that are, or are likely to be, contestable, misleading or deceptive.
  • Announcements may not contain: calls to action; price points.
  • The sponsored property will be preceded by a commercial break.
  • The sponsorship announcement will be distinguished from programming.

6. Arrangements with sponsors
All sponsorship agreements must include a specific provision that the sponsor has no editorial influence over SBS and its editorial decisions whatsoever, and that SBS is free to publish critical stories in relation to the sponsor without jeopardising the sponsorship relationship. SBS will have the ability to terminate the sponsorship agreement immediately should developments give rise to any risk that SBS could be compromised by its association with the sponsor.

25 May 2012 (updated June 2012)

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