Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Special Broadcasting Service
The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is one of two government funded Australian public broadcasting radio and television networks, the other being the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The stated purpose of the SBS is "to provide multilingual and multicultural radio and television services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and, in doing so, reflect Australia's multicultural society" (SBS FAQ). The radio division broadcasts in 68 languages in all states of the Commonwealth. A large percentage of its TV programming is broadcasts of TV news programs from foreign countries (primarily not in English). It also shows many films in languages other than English. Its own news and current affairs programs have a higher concentration on international affairs than the ABC or the commercial networks, and carries less "soft" news. It also broadcasts many current affairs documentaries, and its sports coverage tends to focus on international sports, primarily soccer and cycling (especially the Tour de France).
SBS began as a non-commercial network, but more recently has begun accepting and broadcasting television advertisements (a controversial move at the time). It is notable, however, that advertisements are shown only between programs; the network shows all its programs uninterrupted by "commercial breaks".
SBS runs several imported drama and comedy series, including shows produced in languages other than English as well notably risque material that would not be shown on other broadcast networks in Australia - for instance, South Park, or Queer as Folk. It also screens a broad selection of films from around the world, including everything from French arthouse material to Hong Kong soft-core "erotica". The relatively relaxed attitude to sexuality on SBS gave it the nickname "Sex Before Sleep", or, combined with its soccer focus, "Sex and bloody Soccer". This is not necessarily the case, in earlier hours when shows such as Global Village display the more somewhat traditional aspect of SBS by featuring events from around the world.
It recently began producing its own local comedy series, characterised by obviously tiny budgets and the preparedness to push the boundaries of acceptable television humor - and, in the opinion of a majority of critics, with considerable success.
One SBS institution is The Movie Show, a movie review show something in the vein of Siskel and Ebert in the United States (but actually predating it). The two presenters of the show, David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz, "defected" to the ABC in April 2004 to host a new program called "At The Movies".
SBS has been one of the most progressive networks in regards to digital television - it broadcasts a second channel, SBS World News Channel, which as its name suggests is entirely foreign language news broadcasts, and has an electronic program guide (EPG) channel with program schedules, news headlines and nation-wide weather.
SBS uses subtitles in preference to dubbing. These do not interfere with the natural sounds of a movie, so viewers who understand the language can watch with ease. Subtitles are used on most non-English speaking movies; some events, such as the Eurovision Song Contest, are kept as is (without the subtitles). The subtitles usually consist of bold yellow text with a tint of a thin black border on a black background, positioned at the bottom centre of the television screen. This gives the best text legibility on the screen to viewers.
SBS is one of the worlds biggest Subtitler organisations, if not the biggest. It produces subtitles for foreign film and documentary producers around the world and not just for films to be shown on its own SBS screenings. The subtitling services includes from English to other Languages, foreign language to other language, as well as to English.
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