Amongst the minutiae of dental schemes and tax adjustments in the 2012-13 Budget lies a gem for anyone who's a fan of the country's multicultural broadcaster SBS: a funding boost, and a takeover of the existing indigenous broadcaster NITV.
SBS, which has been suffering under tight financial circumstances, will receive an extra AU$158 million over the next five years from the Federal Government, as first reported by ABC News, TV Tonight and MediaSpy. Some of that extra cash will go towards funding existing TV and radio services, such as SBS One, SBS Two and the various foreign-language programs produced by SBS Radio.
The funding injection will also help SBS to effectively take control of the current indigenous broadcaster NITV from July this year. NITV will continue broadcasting in its current state until SBS' indigenous offering is up and running.
Little is known at this stage about what shape this new station will take, or whether it will continue with its current branding. We do know, however, that unlike NITV at present, the new station will broadcast nationally via SBS.
Currently, NITV is only available via pay TV operators Foxtel and Austar, on regional satellite services and via terrestrial transmitters in a handful of locations (Alice Springs, Mt Isa and Bourke).