Media agencies challenged to go Beyond 3% as SBS and NITV champion Australia’s First Nations media

NITV is proudly one of the many media services across Australia providing a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Source: NITV

SBS Media is raising awareness of the benefits of greater investment by agencies and brands in Australia’s Indigenous media platforms with the launch of Beyond 3%, an initiative designed to inspire, engage and encourage a long-term shift in the sector.

National Indigenous Television (NITV), part of the SBS network, is one of the many media services across Australia providing a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and a place for their stories to be shared, explored and celebrated.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represent 3.3 per cent of the Australian population however, the media that exist to serve these communities are often not considered as part of campaign planning.[i]  It’s estimated that less than 0.3 per cent of advertising in Australia is invested in media dedicated to reaching these audiences.[ii]  

Beyond 3% seeks to engage media agencies to begin to address this gap by learning more about the role and value of First Nations media in Australia today, doing more to contribute to inclusion in the sector, and re-thinking media spend by committing to increasing investment in Indigenous media platforms to at least a 3 per cent target.

Tanya Denning-Orman, Director of Indigenous Content, SBS, said: “NITV is proud to be one of the many media organisations of all sizes across Australia, run by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, telling our stories on our terms. These services also present unique opportunities for brands to engage these audiences, and provide valuable professional opportunities for people from communities to develop their careers, empowering the next generation of Indigenous talent in the Australian media.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are more than a number, but when it comes to the strength of this vital sector, numbers matter and investment has a real impact. We’re grateful for our industry partners who have already made the commitment to learn more, do more, and ultimately spend more, because of the value it represents well beyond when a campaign comes to an end.”

Anna Dancey, NITV National Sales Manager, said: “Beyond 3% is about course correcting the current gap in investment by raising awareness of the difference it makes and the impact it can have. An investment in a media platform run by and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a vital contribution to the strength of First Nations media around the country. It fosters greater creativity across the media landscape, has a direct impact in improving the diversity of stories and perspectives we all see, and means we have stronger platforms reflecting the strength of our people.”

Adam Sadler, Director SBS Media Sales, said: “SBS is proud to have NITV at the heart of our network, reaching a growing number of Australians as a free-to-air channel dedicated to First Nations storytelling, and one of the many media services ensuring the stories and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can be seen and heard by all Australians.

“We’re inviting the sector to think Beyond 3%. We’re not trying to change the industry overnight, but making a difference starts with learning more about our country’s rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and cultures, and committing to ways we can all contribute to a more inclusive future through the work we do, every day.”

Some of Australia’s leading media agencies have already made a commitment to exploring how they can go Beyond 3%.

Melissa Fein, CEO of Initiative Australia, said: “There’s been a strong focus on equal representation in our industry for years, but sadly it’s often all talk and little action. That’s why we’re incredibly proud to work with and support the SBS and NITV Beyond 3% initiative. We’re equally proud as an agency to commit to this cause, and look forward to others joining us.”

Mark Lollback, CEO of GroupM, said: “At GroupM All Means All, and an inclusive culture is at the heart of our vision. Diversity and inclusion is key to a strong and vibrant media landscape and GroupM and our agencies are proud to support this excellent initiative from SBS to make real progress in representation of Indigenous Australians, their voices and their stories across the media.”

Aimee Buchanan, CEO of OMD Australia, said: “Indigenous media, including NITV play a critical role in our media ecosystem. Having channels created by, for and about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is key to having our First Nations peoples’ stories heard. In an era where we obsess over brand safety, I encourage Australian businesses and their agencies to progress this further. We need to extend the conversation to brand suitability and critically, brand responsibility by questioning the responsibility your brand has to financially and commercially contribute and sustain the voices of Australia’s First Nations people.”

The opportunity presented by Beyond 3%, has also been welcomed as an important opportunity to strengthen connections and collaboration between the First Nations media sector and the advertising industry, while also having the potential to contribute to positive outcomes for equity and reconciliation in Australia.  

Dot West, Chair of First Nations Media Australia and SBS Board member, said: “Across remote, regional and urban Australia, First Nations media are the voice for their communities, a creative, innovative and dynamic sector sharing our stories, strengthening Australia’s cultural identity and building connections with the wider community. Beyond 3% is an important step in shifting perception and behaviour when it comes to recognising the value of First Nations media, and opening up more opportunities to work with us.”

Naomi Moran, Deputy Chair of First Nations Media Australia and Manager of the Koori Mail, added: “First Nations media shares the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through radio, television, print, online and social formats - meeting our audiences wherever they are, every day. First Nations Media Australia members reach way beyond the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, connecting with local, national and global audiences interested in hearing authentic stories, strong culture and essential information.

“Beyond 3% is a great way for media buyers to find and connect with the 45+ First Nations media organisations producing, publishing and broadcasting content across Australia. We’re pleased to see NITV taking the lead to educate media agencies by providing an easy resource to link media buyers with our dynamic First Nations media organisations.” 

Karen Mundine, CEO, Reconciliation Australia, said: “A strong media sector run for and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is essential to achieving a just, equitable and reconciled Australia. Change only happens when we commit to braver action – as individuals, businesses and organisations.

“Beyond 3% offers our media and advertising industry an opportunity to invest in the future of First Nations media for the benefit of all Australians. I encourage all of our partners in reconciliation to see how they can contribute to this initiative.”

Pat Turner AM, CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks, and the inaugural CEO of NITV, said, “It is essential for the future success of this nation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have their voices heard. Actions which further strengthen First Nations media are a vital element of contributing to closing the gap, by ensuring our communities are empowered to tell their stories on their terms, and proudly share their perspectives for all to hear. That’s why I welcome the Beyond 3% initiative, because of the power it has to make these voices even louder, at a critical time for the country.”  

There are a range of ways marketers and agencies can go Beyond 3%, and the website provides a starting point as a portal for information and resources for individuals and organisations to learn more, and explore ways to support Indigenous media. will continue to be developed as an industry resource, providing practical information to support organisations in being more inclusive in their operations, such as engaging Indigenous businesses through the work that they do, increasing understanding through cultural awareness training and education, through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, and by using design and production protocols and guidance.

The SBS Media team will also be engaging media agencies to further support learning and development.


For a PDF version of this media release, click here


[ii] Estimate based on Standard Media Index (SMI) data available for relevant media, for 2019 vs 2020.