So, who watched Academy Award winning film No Country For Old Men on the weekend? This would be the one directed by the very same Coen Brothers that currently have one of the most notable films of the year playing in cinemas right now.

I’m assuming most of you did watch it. It was impossible to avoid, especially considering SBS scheduled it in the primo timeslot of 10pm on Saturday night.

In an interview with TV blog site TV Tonight, SBS Network programer Jane Roscoe commented on their program Anna Pihl:

“We bought Anna Pihl thinking it’s a nice show, easy to dip in and out of, a good character, well-made, well-written and it’s a nice complement to Rex on a Thursday night,” she explains.

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“The viewing figures were really bad, it just felt like nobody was interested. But the feedback since it’s finished has been amazing.

“The Danes make fantastic crime dramas and the show seemed to find a loyal, core audience but my feeling is that maybe it wasn’t in quite the right place. I’m certainly looking at playing it again somewhere else and seeing if we can build it a bit better. I’d love to bring it back.”

Anna Pihl is one of the strongest offerings, content-wise, that the network has to offer. Yet, how many of you have given the show a look? I’d wager not many.

Each Sunday night at 7:30pm on SBS2, the network run a goofy, Wipeout-esque show called Ninja Warrior. The half-hour show is easily a cult viewership magnet with the potential to become a wider cross-over hit. Yet, it gets very little promotion and is buried on their digital multichannel.

I’ve noted before on White Noise that SBS need to work to their strengths as a multi-cultural broadcaster and embrace the opportunity that it provides. Carefully managed, SBS are in a position to not only own the foreign language high quality product space in the Australian media landscape, but also take their brand offshore and online (think IPTV possibilities). Such expansion and investment in content cannot happen unless they’re generating revenue.

SBS so often cry poor that they’re not provided further financial backing by the Federal Govt, yet they’re also squandering the opportunities they do have with poor scheduling decisions (resulting in diminished ratings and thus lower ad rates).

In fairness, the problems aren’t all based around their scheduling. A poorly managed  social media presence and some slightly askew promotional targeting (though, the latter may simply be due to financial constraints) are significant problems that SBS need to deal with.

SBS is filled with so much unrealised potential. In a digital landscape, SBS should be thriving. Silly decision making continues to hold them back.

Top tier films on a Saturday night at 10pm? Ridiculous.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.

Jess
Singapore

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