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SBS Mandarin & Arabic News Move from Broadcast to Online

With more audiences getting their news on digital platforms at a time that suits them, SBS says it is evolving its Arabic and Mandarin news offering from linear bulletins to short-form digital video news packages throughout the day.

Australia’s multicultural public broadcaster is responding to audiences’ changing needs, confirming it plans to shift its local SBS News in Arabic and SBS News in Mandarin offerings from linear television to regular short-form video news packages throughout the day, building on the network’s existing SBS Arabic and SBS Chinese audio and digital language services and delivering more content to these growing audiences.

“SBS is very proud of our weekday nightly Arabic and Mandarin news bulletins which have been running for over two years,” said Mandi Wicks, Director of SBS News and Current Affairs. “Our data shows us that more and more of these audiences are seeking out news on our digital platforms throughout the day. This decision to shift to digital delivery platforms reflects that demand for timely, regular video news updates and will see us produce a record amount of in-language content for these communities.”

Over the past 12 months SBS has been successfully piloting the delivery of SBS News in Arabic and SBS News in Mandarin news packages on third-party platforms, contributing to more than 14.7 million video views on SBS Arabic’s YouTube and Facebook accounts and more than 8.2 million video views on SBS Chinese’s YouTube, Facebook, Weibo, and WeChat accounts.

“SBS remains strongly committed to providing trusted and impartial news in Arabic and Mandarin for our audiences. This development will see us delivering even more quality, factual digital news coverage around the clock, including on location around Australia, aimed at growing reach and giving audiences more choice and flexibility in how and when they engage with our content,” said Pamela Cook, Acting Director of SBS Audio and Language Content and responsible for SBS’s more than 60 language services. “We are meeting the audience where they are, at a time that suits them, on their preferred platforms.”

The Arabic and Mandarin TV news teams will become part of the long-running SBS Arabic (formerly SBS Arabic24) and SBS Chinese audio and digital language programs, focusing on videos, social media, and podcasting. They will produce shorter, more frequent news packages for consumption throughout the day, resulting in an overall increase in daily content output for these language audiences with more timely delivery of video news.

Serving Australia’s two largest non-English-speaking language groups, SBS News in Arabic and SBS News in Mandarin have been available free-to-air on the SBS WorldWatch channel since May 2022, providing live news bulletins every weeknight from 8-8.30pm and 8.30-9pm respectively. However, today’s viewers are increasingly preferring digital platforms, with nearly half of all Australians (49%) using social media to access news (up 4pp on 2023) and online video news consumption becoming ever more popular.

The programming change reflects SBS’s expanded offering of multilingual audio content over the past 12 months, driven by a digital-first approach across radio, online, social, and podcasting to better meet audiences’ changing needs. SBS has been recognised as Best Publisher at the Australian Podcast Awards for the past two years running, and, excluding podcasts, currently produces more than 450 hours of distinctive multicultural content weekly for its SBS Audio platforms which include FAST channels on streaming platform SBS On Demand.

According to the latest Australian Census, nationally there are over 367,000 Arabic speakers (median age 30-34) and over 685,000 Mandarin speakers (median age 30-34), with this digital change ensuring SBS continues to deliver on its Charter of building connection and belonging by strengthening awareness and understanding of the increasing cultural diversity of contemporary Australia.

Content can be accessed via all SBS Arabic and SBS Chinese platforms, including dedicated YouTube channels for SBS Arabic and SBS Chinese, with the existing SBS Arabic24 DAB+ channel and online brand rebranded to SBS Arabic. Content can also be accessed via the SBS Audio website and app which can be downloaded via the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android. Selected content is also available wherever audiences consume podcasts and radio streams, including Apple Podcasts, LiSTNR, Spotify, and TuneIn.


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