Just when you thought it was safe to watch free to air TV live without being bombarded with ads reminding you of what free to air TV is and why you should keep on watching it, FreeView are about to hit us with a new campaign spruiking “the best things in life are free” – or – in other words, the best TV you can watch is free.
In what is devistating news to fans of the show and the huge cult following that has developed, SBS have made the decision to “rest” Letters and Numbers – which more than likely means it will not return.
Tomorrow (Monday October 31) as the world’s population ticks over to seven billion SBS will follow suit, updating its logo to “Seven Billion Stories and Counting”.
The rebranding of SBS television, radio and online will feature a new animated advertising campaign “The Birth of the 7th Billion Story‟ which celebrates the world population reaching seven billion.
The SBS logo has been Six Billion Stories for the past three years and the new look is one of the first initiatives of the new managing director Michael Ebeid, who is facing severe budgetary pressures and a dispute with staff over pay rises.
The campaign is an exclusive partnership with the United Nations Population Fund campaign, called “7 Billion Actions”, which is a program to raise awareness and encourage action to address key world issues associated with population growth: poverty and inequality; women and girls; young people; reproductive health and rights; environment; ageing; and urbanisation.
“Since launching “Six Billion Stories and counting…” three years ago, audiences now view SBS as braver, creative, relevant, and intelligent. As a true multi-platform broadcaster we are well positioned for the changes taking place in the media marketplace with a brand that is built to last.
“As we mark the change to seven billion people on our planet, we’re updating our famous line and reminding Australians that SBS is still the only broadcaster with both the purpose and capacity to tell the stories of the whole world.”
The Seven Billion Stories campaign will be translated into three languages for SBS TV (Arabic, Dinka – the language of the world’s newest nation South Sudan and the Aboriginal language of Yolngu Matha – the language of the Arnhem Land region) and 15 languages for SBS Radio.
The update will also include a 15-second TVC featuring the initiatives of the “7 Billion Actions” program, an in-language radio campaign, a digital campaign across www.sbs.com.au, social media via Facebook, Twitter and SBS blogs.
Source: The Australian
No idea what to watch on TV tonight? Here’s some ideas.
1. The Event, 9.30pm 7mate (but not regional NSW and regional QLD).
After a four month hiatus, the Event is back for the second half of its first season – exclusively on 7mate.
President Martinez and his long time Chief Of Staff charge the intelligence community with decrypting Thomas’s satellite message, but more importantly determining to whom it was sent.
2. Friday night horror on GO! Return to the Haunted House, 11.50pm, GO!
Eight years have passed since Sara Wolfe and Eddie Baker escaped the House on Haunted Hill. Now, Sara’s sister Ariel goes inside the house with a group of treasure hunters to find the statue of Baphomet, worth millions and believed to be the cause of the house’s evil.
3. Friday night horror on TVS (Sydney): The Shlocky Horror Picture Show, 10.30pm, TVS*.
Sydney only. Made in 1978. Nigel Honeybone, the hardest working skeleton in show business, presents the finest examples of B-grade horror on The Schlocky Horror Picture Show.
4. How to Get More Sex. 10.15pm, SBS ONE.
This three-part series boldly explores the science of sexual attraction, providing a fascinating insight into what draws us to someone and how we can achieve more success attracting the people we fancy. From the importance of smell to the age-old question of whether or not size does matter, the series seeks to explain why one person is more appealing than another, with celebrity opinions, expert advice and interesting experiment.
5. Sideways. Midnight, 7TWO.
A comedy, about a tale of two old friends who set off on a wine-tasting road trip, only to veer sideways into a comedic exploration of love, friendship and the enduring war between pinot and cabernet. Stars Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh – from Grey‘s Anatomy, Marylouise Burke, Jessica Hecht.
* For those not aware, TVS is Sydney Community Television, available on digital channel 44 and analogue UHF31. As the transmission is relatlively low power, some may not be able to receive the channel at all.
SBS is the only free to air network that still broadcasts a high definition simulcast of its main channel, SBS ONE. SBS is also the only free to air broadcaster that still only has two unique channels – SBS ONE and SBS TWO, with SBS ONE HD an HD simulcast of SBS ONE.
The probability of SBS launching a third channel in the near future is unlikely due to budgetary restraints. Even if they did, it would be able to be in standard definition, like is the case with ABC3. That would leave the HD channel untouched as an SBS ONE simulcast. Only if they went for a fourth channel , would SBS ONE HD have to be given up as an SBS ONE simulcast.
As discussed in part 3 about ABC News 24, both ABC and SBS do not have the same requirements as the commercial networks do when it comes to providing HD content. They simply only have to upscale programming to meet their HD requirements, while the commercials must provide a 1,040 hours of HD content per year – 20 hours a week.
In going through many weeks of SBS programming in an attempt to find out what shows are in HD on SBS ONE HD, I came up with a blank. Nowhere – not from any source – could I find anything anywhere that listed any show on SBS as being in HD. Could it just be that there is actually nothing on SBS ONE HD in native HD? Or that the network chooses not to disclose which shows are in HD?
I recall in 2009 that the Ashes series that year was promoted as, and shown in HD. I have seen other sporting events in HD on SBS ONE HD as well. But, from what I can see, nothing else seems to be. Some of their BBC sourced documentaries they air are made in HD, as are other shows like Mad Men, and Entourage, but that doesn’t mean SBS procure the HD version to air. HD versions of shows generally cost more – which presents a problem for a network so tight on budget.
When asked about the amount of HD content SBS screens, the answer from SBS was: “Where HD programming is available it is broadcast on SBS ONE HD. SBS has comparatively low levels of HD content it broadcasts compared to other broadcasters.”
Comparatively low levels of HD content? None at all seems to be the case at the moment.
That is not to say that there will be, or is, HD content from time to time.
But – to answer the question of how much HD content is on SBS ONE HD? I would have to say none at the moment. Save for a sporting event, a documentary or a series SBS manage to procure in HD.
2009 was the year the second digital channels launched: ONE HD, SBS TWO replacing SBS News, GO!, 7TWO and ABC’s third channel ABC3.
2010 was the year we saw the HD main channel simulcasts of ABC1, Seven and Nine given up to make way for even more digital channels – none of which could be described as an ideal use of each network’s available HD stream.
In 2011, the only new channel that we know for sure will be launched is ELEVEN.
Will there be any more free to air channels or have we reached as far as it will go prior to the switch off of analogue in 2014?
When ELEVEN launches, there will in fact be 15 distinct free to air digital channels (plus community TV in some areas).
Seven, Nine and Ten are currently only allowed to provide two standard definition channels and one high definition channel. The ABC are able to have one extra standard definition channel than the commercials, while SBS remain the only network with an HD channel that simulcasts their main channel.
What the ABC are doing with three standard definition channels and one high definition channel is the most you can get out of the current available bandwidth to each network – although some would argue that even this is pushing it too far and the quality of each of the individual channels within the multiplex are poor.
But it stands to reason, that if the ABC can have four channels, with one being HD, why can’t the others? Technically they can, but it does come down to licensing. The only way we would see more channels comes out of Seven, Nine or Ten would be if licensing conditions changed to allow them to do the same as the ABC.
In talks relating to the anti-siphoning list during 2010, the suggestion was raised of the commercial networks being allowed to have a 4th digital channel to help cover more sporting broadcasts without sacrificing regular programming content. Therefore there is a possibility of 4th channels.
If this was to happen – Seven, Nine and Ten – were allowed to have a 4th channel, I believe the provision of such should be highly conditional. Given that the third channels for Seven and Nine have effectively removed ALL main channel HD content, and ONE did the same for Ten nearly two years ago, any suggestion of a 4th channel should re-instate the HD content that we are now missing out on.
New conditions for HD content should go FAR beyond the 20 hours per week that was put in place nearly a decade ago, when hardly anyone owned or could even afford an HD TV.
The way I would like to see the 4th channel work is as per the following rules, which would revent a network from using it as a 4th unique channel and income stream. Keep in mind, this is all opinion based, and hypothetical – there is nothing anywhere at this stage that suggests 4th channels will actually happen any time soon, if at all.
1. The 4th channel will be the HD channel. The first three channels all revert to SD.
2. The HD channel must show HD content for at least 18 hours a day. In 2011, there is no reason why the networks could not easily fill this amount of HD content daily. Just about every TV show in the US is made in HD, most locally are as well.
3. The HD channel should provide an HD simulcast of the main channel during specified prime time hours – say 6pm – 10.30pm nightly.
4. The HD channel cannot be used as a distinct 4th channel. It must be either simulcasting the main channel or broadcasting HD content seen on the other digital channels the network owns. This rule gives the flexibility for Ten for example to still show HD sports when available while showing Ten content in HD during prime time. The only possible exception would be if sport runs over time and the network chooses to return to normal programming on the main channel while leaving the HD channel to continue with the sport.
5. In some cases, HD shows could be time shifted. If, for example, a network has two or even three shows airing in one night that they own in HD, they could opt to show the main channel HD shows live (by rule 3, it has to be the main channel programming during specified prime time hours), then play shows seen on their other channels in HD at different times.
6. The reverse of point 5, a show would be allowed to air on the HD channel before it airs on one of the SD channels so long as it occurs within a 7 day period. This would allow HD premieres to come before they air in SD on other channels. The result of points 5 and 6 do cause there to be four different shows on at once but it does mean that anything seen on the HD channel is also seen on an SD channel even at a different time.
The fourth channel scenario, coupled with these rules in fact will benefit everybody.
It would mean, that all of a network’s content is seen over their three SD channels, while most, if not all of a network’s content available in HD would be seen on their HD channel. It would mean prime time main channel content is seen in HD again, while other content available in HD that may be seen on other channels can also be seen in HD as well as SD.
It would mean that sport would be able to be seen in HD without impacting on the regular programming of other channels. It would mean that all people with digital set top boxes whether they have HD or not can see all shows that a network offers.
Such a solution would surely please everybody over the next three years until analogue is switched off.
Then – later in the decade when we start using MPEG-4 and all three of a network’s channels can be upgraded to HD, the 4th channel would become redundant, and could then be used in reverse to provide an SD MPEG-2 signal of either the main channel or a mix of the three channels for those with old digital tuners.
Again – the only new FTA channel we know will happen for sure in 2011 is ELEVEN. While there is room for SBS THREE, funding issues will most likely mean it does not happen any time soon. SBS should focus more on revamping the offerings over their two channels in any case before they think of a third. SBS ONE is now regularly beaten in channel shares by one or more of the commercial digital channels from Seven and Nine.