Under the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 (SBS Act), SBS can generate revenue by broadcasting and publishing advertising (including sponsorship announcements). Advertising provides a valuable source of funding for SBS to invest in the creation of distinctive local content, and the provision of essential services to Australia’s diverse communities.
The SBS Act sets out conditions under which SBS can broadcast or publish advertisements and provides for the SBS Board to develop guidelines on advertising. SBS’s guidelines on advertising are set out in the SBS Code of Practice and the SBS Commercial, Funding and External Relationships Guidelines (SBS Guidelines).
For its TV and radio broadcasting services, the SBS Act states that SBS may broadcast advertisements and sponsorship announcements that run in total for not more than 5 minutes per hour of broadcasting, and they can only be broadcast before or after programs or during natural program breaks. The SBS Act does not specify time or placement rules for advertising on SBS’s digital (online) services, such as SBS On Demand (SBS’s free video streaming service). Instead, the SBS Guidelines provide that, to the extent possible, the same rules that apply to SBS broadcasting services will apply to its digital (online) services. The SBS Guidelines note that due to platform differences and user consumption behaviour, this will not always be achievable.