This internal email from SBS management just hit our inbox via an anonymous tipster — announcing an exciting opportunity for SBS staffers:


Public announcement in the atrium — all welcome to come along!

FRIDAY 30TH October 3.15pm

Matt Campbell and Denise Erikson with the commissioned content team SBS ‘six billion stories and counting’ and we want your story! SBS Content is calling for program submissions for the 2009 Staff Pitching Competition.

Have you got an idea for a program that is unique, engaging and reflects the SBS charter?

Then we want to hear from you! Submit your program ideas and you could be selected to partake in a live pitching session (date to be announced), with the winner announced and acclaimed at the staff Christmas party.

The winning submission will be considered by the SBS Editorial Committee and you may even be put in touch with an external production company to have your program further developed. If your program is produced and ultimately makes it on air, SBS will pay a ‘staff incentive’ content licence fee of AU $10,000.

As outlined in the SBS charter your program idea should educate, inform and entertain while reflecting and engaging contemporary, culturally diverse Australian audiences. We want ideas that push the creative boundaries and take audiences to a place in their community they won’t usually go.

Our current commissioning priorities are listed below and should be taken into consideration when submitting your ideas. However if your idea does not fit into these guidelines we still want to hear from you!



SBS Comedy showcases bold and distinctive breakout ideas, new and edgy talent, using interesting and innovative comedy vehicles. We’ve been accused of a lot of things over the years, but never of being dull or predictable. From scripted comedy to improvisation shows, it will find a home on SBS.

We’re looking for: Scripted and/or studio based comedy/entertainment shows – e.g Salam Café, Newstopia, Wilfred, etc.


SBS Drama commissions shows that you won’t see anywhere else. We’re fired by breakout ideas that are bold and distinctive. We’re committed to projects that reflect the cultural diversity of contemporary Australia in unique, innovative and provocative ways. We’re looking for longer running series – ideally 13 parts. In 2009, we’re committed to Carla Cametti and the second series of East West 101 and The Circuit — but we’ll be in development for 2010. Please be aware SBS is currently not looking for teenage or young people’s drama.


SBS Entertainment shows will be popular and surprise our audience. They will be a vehicle for new talent on our screens – entertaining contemporary Australia on screen and online.

We are committed to RocKwiz in 2009 but we’re also looking for half hour, studiobased formatted entertainment shows for 8.30 pm or 9pm for 2009 and beyond.


SBS Factual programming will, like the rest of our Commissioning, reflect the exciting reality and possibilities of Australia’s cultural diversity – exploring the challenges, the issues, the fun, the sadness, the successes and the failures told in a way other broadcasters wouldn’t consider. All proposals should have well thought out online potential. In particular, we’re looking for:

Landmark Documentary Series

First Australians, 7×1 hour top-quality program was a landmark series and we want more like that – stories which reveal important, controversial history with magnificent story telling. We’re looking for 6 x 1 hours for a 7.30 timeslot.

Big Events

This is a new area for us and we are looking for ideas, which sustain, say, 4 – 6 episodes with an event as a climax episode for 8pm. They will engaged and challenge our audience and build to a big event our audience want to tune in for.

Secrets and Lives …

This is a new initiative that will use humour and surprising, innovative approaches to factual story telling. We’re looking for up to 36 x 30 minutes for a new strand which will feature tough subjects, entertaining, engaging journeys and tackle the major social issues of our times. Every week our audience will be entertained and surprised by this slot — with consistently well-told stories. A new vehicle with a new tone for telling Australian stories.

Food and Leisure

SBS wants to be the first stop for innovative food programming and we’re looking for the next Food Safari or similar – 26x30m for a 7.30 time slot in 2009 and beyond.

We’re also in the market for clever, engaging leisure programmes, which offer something different to those carried by other networks. Think Costa’s Garden Odyssey, as an example.

Submit your written proposal following the below guidelines.

Five proposals will be selected to for the live pitching competition and will compete for the ‘title of ‘Best Pitch’.. The winning proposal will be submitted to the SBS Editorial Committee. If the Editorial Committee considers that your idea is suitable for production, they may put you in touch with an external production company and may enter into commercial negotiations with you to have the program produced. From this point, normal SBS commissioning procedures will apply. If your program is produced and it is broadcast by SBS, you will be paid a ‘staff incentive’ content licence fee of AU $10,000.

As noted above, SBS does not guarantee that your proposal will be produced, put to air, or that anyone will necessarily receive $10,000.

Your two page proposals should include:

  1. A one paragraph synopsis of the idea.
  2. A story outline that detail the character/s, events and narrative structure.
  3. Full contact details including your position, dept, phone #, postal address & email

If you have any other materials such as a DVD trailer or some footage that you feel supports your submission, you are welcome to send it in with your proposal.

Proposals should be submitted in hard copy via internal mail to:

Amelia Chin, SBS Commissioned Content.

Closing date for submissions is COB Monday 30th November 2009.

Send your tips to [email protected] or submit them anonymously here.

Help us keep up the fight

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today and get your first 12 weeks for $12.

Cancel anytime.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey