Now that the ashes have settled on the Ashes Tests and the large audiences attracted by SBS, perhaps we can have an accounting from the ethnic broadcaster as to just how much was taken in ad revenues and how much was spent from the handy $4.7 million top-up funding contained in the 2005-2006 Federal Budget.

The announcement was made by Communications Minister Senator Helen Coonan in a blatant piece of pork barrelling last May. Here’s the release in part:

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) will receive an additional $4.7 million in 2005-06 to assist with the increasing costs of acquiring broadcast rights for major sporting events.

SBS has a long track record of serving the needs of Australia’s diverse cultural communities and developing broad audience interest in a wide range of sports such as soccer, cycling and athletics.

Wherever possible SBS broadcasts all matches in major events acquired and generally does so live. SBS’s sports coverage is widely praised and attracts loyal audiences.

The additional funding of $4.7 million in 2005-06 will assist SBS in securing broadcasting rights to a range of sports. The Government will consider the continuation of this funding as part of its review of SBS’s 2006-07 to 2008-09 triennium funding.

So now that there’s been some public money spent on these cricket broadcasts, with ad revenues written against them, how much is left, was any of the $4.7 million spent and will there be enough to spend on next year’s world cup broadcasts from Germany?

Peter Fray

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