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SBS funding and Corporate Plan

QUESTION NO. 356

Senator Ludlam asked the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, upon notice, on 13 December 2010.

With reference to the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and, in particular, p. 13 of the SBS Corporate Plan 2010-2013 (the Corporate Plan):

(1) What are the brief definitions of ‘government base funding' and ‘government appropriation' for SBS.

(2) (a) How is government base funding for SBS determined; and
(b) is there a requirement for the Government to fund SBS according to a specific method; if so, what is that requirement and where can it be found.

(3) (a) How is any amount greater than government base funding determined; and
(b) is there any requirement on the Government to fund SBS for an amount greater than government base funding; if so, what will determine that.

(4) If advertisements on SBS television were restricted to be placed before or after programs only, and not in a program:
(a) by what amount (in both dollars and percentages) does SBS estimate government base funding would need to be increased in order to maintain the same total revenue for each of the financial years from 2010-11 to 2014-15 (see p. 13 of the Corporate Plan); or
(b) alternatively, if there was no increase in Government funding, what amounts (in both dollars and percentages) does SBS estimate would be lost in each financial year from 2010-11 to 2014 15, of:
(i) television (only) advertising revenue, and
(ii) total SBS advertising and sponsorship revenue.

(5) If advertisements on SBS television were allowed during live-to-air sports programs (as occurred in programs such as the Tour de France, the FIFA World Cup, etc) but were not allowed in all other programs and were permitted before or after every program, what amounts (in both dollars and percentages):
(a) of television (only) advertising and sponsorship revenue does SBS believe would be lost in each financial year from 2010-11 to 2014 15;
(b) of total SBS advertising and sponsorship revenue does SBS believe would be lost in each financial year from 2010-11 to 2014 15; and
(c) would government base funding need to be increased by in order to maintain the total revenue for each of the financial years from 2010 11 to 2014 15 (see p. 13 of the Corporate Plan).

(6) In the ‘Advertising and Sponsorship' figures for each of the financial years from 2010-11 to 2014 15 (see p. 13 of the Corporate Plan), what amounts (in both dollars and percentages) account for:
(a) television (only) advertising and sponsorship revenue; and
(b) radio (only) advertising and sponsorship revenue.

(7) If advertisements on SBS television and radio were only allowed between programs, by what amounts (in both dollars and percentages) does SBS estimate government base funding would need to be increased in order to maintain the total revenue for each of the financial years from 2010-11 to 2014-15 (see p. 13 of the Corporate Plan).

(8) If advertisements on SBS television and radio were restricted to before or after programs only, what amounts (in both dollars and percentages) of total SBS advertising and sponsorship revenue does SBS estimate would be lost in each of the financial years from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

(9) For the financial years from 2007 to 2010, what amount (in both dollars and percentages) of all advertising revenue can be attributed solely to television advertising and sponsorship revenue over that 3 year period.

(10) For the financial years from 2007 to 2010, what amounts (in both dollars and percentages) of television advertising and sponsorship revenue, can be directly attributed to advertisements in sports programs only, for example, the Tour de France, the FIFA World Cup, etc. (Please do not include sports segments that are in non-sports programs, for example, do not include the sports segment within a news broadcast).

(11) If the placement of advertisements on SBS television were restricted, as outlined in paragraphs (11)(a) and (11)(b) below, what method or methods (irrespective of the dollar values at any given time), would SBS suggest might be useful as a guide to current and future governments in considering how to cover a potential loss of advertising revenue in future years due to a restriction that provided for:
(a) advertisements on television to be placed between programs only and not in them; and
(b) in-program television advertisements to be placed only in live-to-air sports programs (as occurred in programs such as the Tour de France, the FIFA World Cup, etc) but, for all other programs in program television advertisements were prohibited and television advertisements were permitted to be placed before or after programs.

(12) If there are legislative restrictions placed on advertising on SBS, would SBS be in favour or against substituting revenue from advertising, for funding from the Government of the same amount.

Senator Conroy - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Government appropriation represents funds appropriated for SBS by Parliament through the annual budget process. Base funding represents the portion of the appropriation funding that SBS has discretion to spend, as it sees fit, to perform its functions, and excludes appropriated funds for specific or tied purposes, such as transmission funding.

(2) (a) Base funding for SBS was determined through the Department of Finance's "running costs" arrangements in the 1990s, indexed for price increases according to the WCI6. This amount is reviewed through the triennial funding process (every three years) by the Government.
(b) No.

(3) (a and b) The total SBS appropriations, including both tied and untied funding, are determined through the Budget process.

(4)-(10) Attached, please see below.

(11) (a) Increase base funding by the shortfall, indexed according to WCI6, and also fully index SBS for all other price rises, in particular increasing content costs. SBS notes that this would require a substantial increase in appropriation without providing additional services and benefits to SBS audiences.
(b) Increase base funding by the shortfall, indexed according to WCI6, and also fully index SBS for all other price rises, in particular increasing content costs. SBS notes that this would require a substantial increase in appropriation without providing additional services and benefits to SBS audiences.

(12) If SBS were to have reduced commercial revenue due to further legislative restrictions it would require additional funding to maintain its level of current services.

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