The home of First Nations storytelling in Australia, NITV shares trusted news and current affairs, sport and entertainment programming through a unique Indigenous lens. In 2018-19, NITV focused on continuing to increase cross-platform engagement, sharing the world’s oldest continuing culture with audiences across TV, radio and online.
As audience consumption habits shift, NITV has invested in gaining a greater understanding of its core Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences. These insights have informed editorial, production and programming decisions, to leverage and celebrate NITV’s distinctiveness. In a competitive market, with increasingly homogenous content offerings, NITV’s unique content is even more valuable, providing wider Australian audiences with a fresh offering and a means to better understand Indigenous perspectives and culture through authentic storytelling.
Digital platforms continue to be a key pathway to engage NITV audiences, given more than half (53 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under the age of 25, according to the 2016 Census. SBS On Demand offers audiences the flexibility to engage with content at a time and on the device of their choosing, while social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram attracted a younger, more female skewed audience. NITV’s social media strategy focused on delivering the right content at the right time, resulting in a 30 per cent increase in engagement among NITV’s 230,000 Facebook followers in 2018-19.
Digital distribution and more experimental production models opened up new opportunities for NITV to support events across Australia. In 2018-19, coverage of important events included The Winda Film Festival, First Nations Media Awards, Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference, The Dreamtime Awards and the ARIAs.
A new partnership with the Aboriginal Health Television network provided increased audiences for Indigenous stories in a non-traditional broadcast environment, sharing NITV content alongside health-focused messages through Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations including Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) locations.
Indigenous News and Current Affairs
As the national Indigenous broadcaster, NITV’s Indigenous News and Current Affairs (INACA) team plays an important role in covering stories and events from across Australia, showcasing the diversity of Indigenous voices, views and practices.
In 2018-19, the INACA team traveled from coast to coast, reporting on key moments including the Federal Election, NAIDOC Week and Garma Festival. Of significant note was the Torres Strait Cultural Festival, Winds of Zenadth, where INACA broadcast live from Thursday Island, sharing daily news updates and a Facebook Live stream of the cultural song, dance and ceremony. Remote production presents unique challenges, but NITV’s ability to devise cost effective, innovative transmission and production practices enables the network to bring these unique stories to audiences across the country.
NITV’s team of journalists continued to earn recognition for their commitment to telling distinctive and important stories that would otherwise go untold. Chris Roe and Karla Grant received the Kennedy Award for Outstanding Indigenous Affairs Reporting, and Rachael Hocking, co-host of NITV’s flagship news and current affairs program, The Point, was awarded the Rising Star award at B&T’s Women in Media Awards.
NITV’s flagship news and current affairs program, The Point, tells compelling stories and investigates the most important issues affecting Indigenous Australians. Each week, hosts Rachael Hocking and John-Paul Janke are joined by a team of journalists to examine topics ranging from health to the arts, sport, politics, native title, and the environment. The program hears from people from all walks of life, with fascinating, compelling and inspiring stories to tell.
In 2018-19, The Point returned for a fifth season of its now-proven format – a one-hour, live panel. Each episode is dedicated to exploring the complexity and impact of national issues, events and policies, through an Indigenous lens. Notable episodes in this season included those dedicated to The Frontier Wars, Indigenous Youth Suicide and The Murray Darling Water Crisis.
The Point’s digital audiences continue to grow as stories produced for the linear broadcast find new and increased relevance on digital and social platforms, increasing the return on investment for NITV and engaging a wider – and younger – community.
NITV News continues to anchor the channel’s news and current affairs slate both on-air and online, with regular daily updates, breaking stories and original storytelling. Natalie Ahmat and a team of Indigenous journalists across the country deliver the news that matters from a uniquely Indigenous perspective.
NITV News’ digital output increased significantly this year to account for more than 70 per cent of NITV’s overall website content and delivered record audiences with 498,024 unique viewers in April 2019.
NITV News: Nula
NITV marked the 2019 United Nations Year of Indigenous languages by renaming its weekly news program from Week in Review to Nula - a locational word in the Sydney-based Dharug language, meaning ‘here, there or everywhere’.
The renamed and revamped Nula program offered audiences a wrap of the essential stories from the week, as host, Natalie Ahmat and the team travel around the country covering the big stories and exploring the issues that matter to Indigenous communities.
Australia’s longest running Indigenous current affairs programs, Living Black returned for season 26 in 2019, featuring compelling human stories and personal interviews with the likes of champion boxer Joe Williams and lawyer and academic Noel Pearson.
Outstanding children’s content
NITV has extended its commitment to original Indigenous children's programming following the success of Little J and Big Cuz. This animated series, positively reflecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children on screen, won the TV Week Logie Award for Most Outstanding Children’s Program in 2018. Season 2 is scheduled to broadcast on NITV later in 2019.
NITV children’s content aims to have a positive impact on younger Australians, by building a connection and inspiring a sense of pride in their culture. Currently in production, Future Dreaming is an immersive virtual reality documentary that aims to capture the imagination of children around the country, while supporting young, emerging artists to increase their digital capabilities. The project was accepted at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019, with Future Dreaming’s young creatives attending the festival, creating new content focused on their experiences in New York.
NAIDOC WEEK – 8-15 July 2018
NITV brought the 2018 NAIDOC theme “Because of Her, We Can” to life across the network, celebrating strong women and the important role they play in everyone’s lives.
For the first time, NITV broadcast the National NAIDOC Awards live as a three-hour special, reflecting an increased commitment to celebrating Indigenous excellence and recognising the outstanding achievements in the community. Social media platforms were used to increase reach, including Facebook and Twitter live streams from the Awards and social videos produced to celebrate the 2018 NAIDOC Award winners.
The Point assembled an all-female panel for their NAIDOC special show, while on Living Black journalist Nakari Thorpe made an emotional journey to her birthplace, recognising the women who paved the way for her.
NITV premiered commissioned and acquired programs focused on the role of strong women in Indigenous society, including WIK vs Queensland, Barbra Wadbirra and Songkeepers, delivering NAIDOC Week audiences 12 per cent higher than the annual weekly average.
#AlwaysWillBe – 26 January 2019
NITV offered an inclusive approach to important discussions around Australia Day, with the #AlwaysWillBe campaign, supporting the exploration of different perspectives and reflection on the diversity of modern Australia.
Programming included the Sunrise Ceremony live from Sydney’s North Head, simulcast on both NITV and SBS, as well as Maori TV in New Zealand. A special episode of The Point explored the national discussion around Australia Day, while INACA teams shared live coverage from communities around the country on January 26. An NITV-curated collection of programming on SBS On Demand attracted more than 150,000 chapter views.
Audience insights show that NITV’s #AlwaysWillBe campaign helped increase positive perceptions of the channel, as well as its place as “a leader in broadcasting Indigenous Australian content” that is “for all Australians”.
The Marngrook Footy Show returned for another AFL season, welcoming back sporting legend and much-loved co-host, Gilbert ‘Gilly’ McAdams. In 2018-19, the program adopted a flexible schedule, alternating between Wednesday and Thursday night broadcasts to avoid clashing with new Thursday night AFL matches.
Over the Black Dot sailed into its third season and welcomed NITV journalist and rugby league fanatic Jodan Perry to the desk alongside dual international rugby player Timana Tahu, former rugby league star George Rose and international athlete Bo Dela Cruz. With more than 12 per cent of all professional NRL players having Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage, Over the Black Dot is focused on celebrating Indigenous players and their ongoing achievements in the game. Community feedback continues to be positive.
Coverage of community and regional competitions continued on NITV, including the annual Koori Knockout carnival and regional AFL competitions with large Indigenous participation. NITV’s coverage of all levels of sport aims to contribute to promoting reconciliation, sharing important health messages, celebrating Indigenous participation and inspiring future champions.
Going Places with Ernie Dingo
NITV production, Going Places with Ernie Dingo took a unique approach to engage broader audiences across the SBS network, with bespoke episodes created for NITV and SBS main channel. This approach delivered significant average audiences of 253,500 for season 2 – the highest ever result for any NITV-produced linear broadcast since the channel’s free-to-air launch in 2012.
The third season of Going Places with Ernie Dingo took viewers on the trip of a lifetime around this beautiful country, as Ernie met the locals in unique locations including Lake Mungo in NSW, Horizontal Falls in Western Australia, Yirrkala in the Northern Territory, Queensland’s Hervey Bay and Stradbroke Island as well as the Grampians in Victoria, Tasmania’s Bruny Island and Ceduna in South Australia.
In June 2019, NITV announced a new partnership with the Western Australian Government’s screen industry agency, Screenwest, which will bring to life stories unique to the state through in-language Indigenous documentaries.
The initiative aims to create new opportunities for emerging Western Australian Indigenous screen practitioners and share their stories with a national audience. First Voices will broadcast in 2020.