SBS named as one of Australia’s most innovative companies for its digital language services

SBS Radio and UX research teams at Eastwood Lunar New Year event Source: SBS

SBS has been recognised as one of Australia and New Zealand’s Most Innovative Companies, in the prestigious annual list published by the Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine, from over 700 nominated organisations. Ranked third on the Media and Marketing list, SBS was the only media company to make the list, recognised for its growing and evolving multilingual digital services, exemplifying SBS’s innovative culture and strategy. 

SBS provides multiplatform services in more than 60 languages and in recent years has increased its focus on scaling its digital services to meet the diverse needs of the one in five Australians who speak a language other than English at home, finding innovative ways to make SBS’s distinctive content increasingly accessible to multilingual audiences. This has been informed by in-depth multilingual research, user testing and engagement with communities.  

This strategy has seen SBS become the first media service in Australia to offer in-language login and navigation on its streaming platform, SBS On Demand, where it also provides a growing collection of SBS dramas, documentaries and current affairs with subtitles in six languages, enabling audiences to access and enjoy content in their preferred language.  

It has also underpinned the delivery of essential services helping to keep multicultural communities informed and safe during the pandemic. In March 2020, SBS launched the SBS Multilingual Coronavirus Portal to provide Australians with access to news, critical updates and information in 64 languages, along with videoproduced by SBS’s in-language teams explaining important public health messages, available across digital platforms. More than eight million Australians have accessed SBS’s digital multilingual COVID-19 content since the portal launched.   

Earlier this year, SBS also launched a dedicated Chinese-language digital service - SBS中文 (SBS Chinese) - bringing together video, written and spoken Chinese languages in a mobile-first offering, providing news, information and entertainment for Australia’s Mandarin and Cantonese speaking communities.  

SBS Managing Director, James Taylor, said SBS is continuing to focus on innovative and meaningful ways it can respond to and meet the diverse needs of multicultural communities. 

As the most multilingual broadcaster in the world, including delivering news and content in more than 60 languages, the depth and breadth of SBS’s services are unmatched, and we’re proud to be recognised as a leading industry innovator – the only media organisation to be recognised in this way. Innovation is built into everything we do at SBS, from how we make, deliver and market our content, to how we build productsto the ways in which we engage with diverse audiences across our multiplatform offering 

“Today, through SBS, people can read the news in their own language, listen to podcasts and stream audio in their language, watch subtitled documentaries, dramas, current affairs as well as login to SBS’s digital services in their language, all delivered in a way which considers the media habits and content preferences of different language communities. As digital consumption and linguistic diversity increase in Australia, SBS’s distinctive role and unique services are more relevant than ever, and we will continue to deliver dedicated content and find innovative solutions to meet our audiences’ specific needs.”   

The full 2021 AFR BOSS Most Innovative Companies Media and Marketing List can be viewed here. The ten industry lists rank the most innovative organisations in Australia and New Zealand.  


For a PDF version of this media release, click here.