Australian Multicultural Broadcaster SBS Appoints New TV Director

Longtime BBC Australia chief Tony Iffland named to the post.

SYDNEY -- Longtime BBC Worldwide Australia executive Tony Iffland is shifting from the pay TV to the free to air sector here, taking up the position of director, television and online content for public broadcaster SBS in April, SBS said Thursday.

Iffland will be responsible for SBS’s content strategy including commissioning and acquiring content for SBS’s free-to-air television channels as well as sports broadcasting including its hallmark Tour De France coverage each year. He’ll report to managing director Michael Ebeid.

“I’m extremely pleased that someone of Tony’s calibre will be joining SBS. He brings a wealth of experience in both television and public broadcasting to the role,” Ebeid said in a statement.

Iffland has been with the BBC for 14 years, including here as channel manager of UKTV, with his role expanded in the last three years to general manager of BBC Worldwide’s local operations including oversight of its portfolio of channels in Australia and New Zealand, the implementation of the BBC iPlayer here, and program and ad sales.

“Although I am sad to be leaving BBC Worldwide, the opportunity to lead programming at this innovative and truly unique Australian public service broadcaster was an offer that I could not refuse,” Iffland said.

SBS, with its charter to reach multicultural Australians, is the smallest free to air network, but has packed a punch in recent years with some risky programs including landmark factual series Go Back To Where You Came From, its highest rated program of the year in 2011.

SBS management is currently negotiating its triennial funding agreement with the federal government under which it currently receives around $146 million per year. It also counts an additional $10 million per year in ad revenue.

Iffland replaces Matt Campbell, who last year joined Shine Australia as managing director for Australia and New Zealand, after seven years with SBS.