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Special Broadcasting Service

The Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) is one of two government-run Australian television networks, the other being the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The purpose of the SBS is to show programming of interest to ethnic and cultural minority groups. A large percentage of its 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.

SBS runs several imported drama and comedy series, including shows produced in languages other than English as well notably edgy 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".

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).

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".



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