Get Excessive Commercial Breaks Off SBS

Get Excessive Commercial Breaks Off SBS

SBS is tax payer funded but for years has been ignoring viewer requests to reduce the number of commercial breaks disrupting programs. It forces breaks in programs even though ads are only allowed during “natural program breaks”[i].

If you go toSaveOurSBS.orgweekly and navigate to this screen to send a new set of emails, and continue to do that for many months, SBSs commercialisation policy will change. With persistence, the number of commercial breaks can be reduced significantly while SBS retains their legislated 5 minutes of ads hourly[ii], so they don’t lose a cent ...

SBS is tax payer funded but for years has been ignoring viewer requests to reduce the number of commercial breaks disrupting programs. It forces breaks in programs even though ads are only allowed during “natural program breaks”[i].

If you go toSaveOurSBS.orgweekly and navigate to this screen to send a new set of emails, and continue to do that for many months, SBSs commercialisation policy will change. With persistence, the number of commercial breaks can be reduced significantly while SBS retains their legislated 5 minutes of ads hourly[ii], so they don’t lose a cent. That’s far better than now with 10 to 15 minutes of disruptions (ads plus promos) per hour[iii]. Promos are not counted as ads

Each and every time you see a program on SBS free-to-air – or – On Demand that has ‘too many commercial breaks’, or the breaks look ‘forced, artificially contrived or are not natural program breaks’, send another set of emails from here. Tell it as it is.

It was SBS not government that reinterpreted the SBS Act in 2006 to force commercial breaks into programs, effectively making the “natural program breaks” limitation set by the SBS Act meaningless.

The SBS Board imposed a set of director KPIs, handsomely rewarding a director and team on their ability to maximise commercial revenue[iv]. Those individuals benefit financially from the status quo, commercial break disruptions, not you.  

Know your facts

  • 1990 – SBS proposes to government it be allowed to carry advertising.
  • 1991 – Labor government corporatises SBS legislating advertising “before programs commence, after programs end or during natural program breaks”[v] and SBS honours this by placing ads between programs only for the next 15 years.
  • 2006 – SBS Board reinterprets the “natural program breaks” limitation set in the SBS Act and forces multiple commercial breaks into every program. The law never changed.
  • 2015 & 2017 – Coalition government cuts SBS funding, then introduces legislation to double ads on SBS in primetime but amidst massive community opposition to even more ads, the parliament refused to pass the new law and funds were returned to SBS. Ads remain at 5 minutes per hour, plus promos.

Later, save ►SaveOurSBS.org◄ to your home screen, desktop, or bookmarks, and return to SaveOurSBS.org weekly to send another set of emails from here, and whenever you see a program on SBS that has ‘too many commercial breaks’, or the breaks look ‘forced, artificially contrived or are not natural program breaks’. Change can be achieved with a steady stream of emails. That’s better than only one email.

#GetExcessiveCommercialBreaksOffSBS

References: 

[i] Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991, section 45
[ii] ibid
[iii] SOSBS, SBS hour logged with 50 percent more ads than allowed, 1 September 2020
[iv] Senate Estimates, Environment and Communications Legislation Committee, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS PORTFOLIO, Special Broadcasting Service Corporation, Mr James Taylor, SBS Managing Director, 9 April 2019 (between 15:33 and 16:00), page 100
[v] Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991, section 45

+
image of Get Excessive Commercial Breaks Off SBS

Email SBS Chair and Board of Directors

Tell SBS Chair, George Savvides AM, and the Board, to reduce the number of in-program commercial breaks significantly across all SBS channels, digital platforms, and radio.

It’s illegal for SBS to exceed 5 minutes of ads per hour (promos don't count), and SBS wouldn’t lose a cent if it restricted itself to just TWO BREAKS ONLY of 2½ minutes of ads per break (plus promos) PER HOUR. That'd be better than the current excessive, disruptive commercial format.

Click “Email Tips” (below) for help composing your email.

Where do you live?

Compose your email

Email Tips +

POLITE & SPECIFIC IS BEST

A generalised complaint to SBS about it interrupting programs too often is better than nothing at all, but not as good as specifying a particular program that was ruined by too many commercial breaks.

  • Type a Subject for your email, e.g., ‘Too many commercial breaks’ -- ‘Disruptive breaks’, etc.
  • Read then edit – add your own text around – or delete the default text from the email (below) and write your own.
  • Personalise it, .e.g., ‘Dear ----,’ but make it clear your email is TO the SBS Chair and Board of Directors.
  • Limit arguments to SBS (avoid discussing other media) as this email is to the SBS Board of Directors.
  • Avoid discussion on your personal ways to by-pass commercial breaks (e.g., recordings, ad blockers, ignore, etc) as those are arguments for SBS to increase disruptions, and a disincentive for the Board to reduce commercial breaks.  
  • Name a program where the advertising disruptions reduced your enjoyment.  
  • State the SBS channel or platform you saw it on.
  • The date and time you watched it or switched off due to the commercial breaks.
  • Specify the issues, e.g., ‘too many commercial breaks’ -- ‘breaks were abrupt, forced, not natural program breaks‘ -- ‘excessive disruptions’ -- ‘overabundance of promos’, etc.
  • How it affected you, e.g., ‘destroyed my viewing experience’ -- ‘jarred the story’ -- ‘impossible to follow due to ad breaks’, etc.
  • How SBS should fix it, e.g., ‘reduce the number and frequency and commercial breaks’ -- ‘one less break in every program’ -- ‘limit to one break every 30 minutes’ -- ‘breaks before and after programs only’ -- ‘less promos’, etc.

Express it in your words but be clear, concise, and polite.

Don’t expect to get rid of ads, but together we can demand less commercial breaks intruding into programs, even if SBS maintains its current level of advertising.

Whenever the commercial disruptions detracted from your viewing experience, please go to SaveOurSBS.org and send a separate email from here for each program .

The more emails SBS receives, the more pressure on the Board to change SBSs current inprogram commercial break format.

Your email to SBS will be copied to the Minister, Shadow Minister, and elected communications spokespersons of other parties in the parliament.

Each time you return to SaveOurSBS.org you may send another set of emails from here.