Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2020
SBS’s broadcast of the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras continues to be a celebration of diversity, inclusion and acceptance for the LGBTIQ+ community and its allies. In 2020, the festival’s theme was ‘What Matters’ and SBS’s coverage featured groups from regional areas across Australia, sharing what matters to their LGBTIQ+ communities.
For the first time, SBS broadcast the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras live across Australia on SBS and NITV, as well as streaming live to the world on SBS On Demand. Hosted by Narelda Jacobs, Joel Creasey, Courtney Act and Zoë Coombs Marr, SBS’s coverage explored important social justice themes while bringing Australians all the entertainment from the parade.
The live broadcast saw an audience boost of 95 per cent against the Saturday night timeslot average, and 219 per cent with the 25-54 demographic, for a combined reach of 1.2 million viewers.
Famous for its challenging questions and daunting setting, legendary quiz show Mastermind returned for a second season, screening 6pm weeknights.
Hosted by Jennifer Byrne, one of the few female quizmasters worldwide, the program welcomed contenders to the Mastermind chair with two minutes to answer as many questions as possible on their chosen specialist subject. Over 250 contenders from across the country took part in season two.
In 2020, SBS launched the first season of Celebrity Mastermind as a one-hour show on Saturday evenings, increasing SBS’s entertainment output. This limited-run series featured 16 celebrities competing with their own specialist topics, highlighting the diverse range of quirky interests held by high-profile Australians. The series helped drive SBS’s increased audience share on Saturday nights and helped cross-promote the weeknight Mastermind series.
Eurovision – Australia Decides
“SBS have pushed the boundaries of diversity and eclecticism with their choices for the 10 artists to sing off in February…” – The Daily Telegraph
In February, Eurovision – Australia Decides returned to the Gold Coast for the second year, giving audiences the chance to vote for the Australian representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, the world’s biggest music contest. It gained strong support from the Australian music industry, which recognised the event as an opportunity for emerging songwriters and performers to showcase homegrown creative talents to global audiences.
More than 600 songs were submitted for consideration, with 10 artists selected to participate in a live broadcast from the Gold Coast, with over 7,000 attendees. Independent artist, Montaigne, came away as the winner.
One of SBS’s youngest-skewing offerings, it was the highest performing program in its timeslot for the previous 12 months, with a linear audience of 405,000 people as well as securing the most publicity across all SBS properties, with over 10,000 pieces of coverage across print, radio, TV and online.
With the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, SBS announced that Montaigne will represent Australia in Rotterdam in 2021.
Eurovision 2020 – Big Night In!
With the unprecedented cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 due to COVID-19, SBS changed its schedule in May to provide a week’s worth of programming culminating in the Saturday night event, Eurovision 2020 – Big Night In!, to entertain Australian audiences as they followed advice to stay at home.
This was the first SBS program produced during the lockdown period, excluding News and Current Affairs programming. and was a trail blazer in terms of producing television programs under COVID-19 restrictions, incorporating innovative augmented reality and social media technologies, whilst adhering to strict physical distancing measures throughout production.
Over three hours, hosts Joel Creasey and Myf Warhurst counted down all 40 Eurovision acts from 2020 as voted by Australia, presented a performance from Eurovision – Australia Decides winner, Montaigne, and premiered a lockdown version of Australia’s 2018 entry, ‘We Got Love’, featuring much-loved Australian artists.
Child Genius Australia
Child Genius returned to SBS in November 2019 for a second season. Overseen by Australian Mensa and quizmaster, Dr Susan Carland, this four-part documentary competition series brought together 16 of Australia’s brightest kids from all over the country as they underwent a series of challenging quizzes that would stump even the smartest adults. These gifted children all showcase extraordinary cognitive abilities in maths, general knowledge, spelling, history, science and memory.
Metro and regional shares were up on season one, with 0.2 share points and a 1.4 share point boost respectively, with a combined reach of 1.25 million viewers.