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NITV celebrates Indigenous storytelling, challenges perceptions and facilitates conversations connecting all Australians to the world’s oldest continuing culture. As the home for First Nations storytelling in Australia, NITV delivers trusted news and current affairs, sport and entertainment programming through a unique Indigenous lens.

A focus on young, community stories and language content

This year SBS recruited more than 3,000 individuals to join an Audience Exchange Panel to provide insights to help inform NITV programming decisions. In response to audience insights, NITV increased the number of programs featuring Indigenous languages and community stories with a focus on youth engagement.

NITV’s 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.

NITV’s award-winning children animation series, Little J and Big Cuz has been translated into 12 Indigenous language episodes, with six translated episodes available as part of the second series which premiered in January 2020. ABC Me co-commissioned season two with NITV, along with season three, which went into pre-production in June 2020.

Thalu, NITV’s second foray into live-action children’s television, premiered in April 2020. SBS partnered with ABC Me and Australian Children's Television Foundation to make the action-adventure series, which was filmed and produced entirely in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The 10-part series follows a group of Indigenous children who undertake a journey to save their Country from the threat of a mysterious dust cloud and its inhabitants, the Takers.


Partnerships with major art and sporting institutions delivered new audience opportunities for NITV in 2020 and new revenue streams to reinvest in distinctive content.

NITV partnered with The Art Gallery of NSW to produce Faboriginal. Taking cues from the Art Gallery of NSW’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection, Faboriginal is a game show with a fun mix of trivia, discussion and laughs, featuring notable comedians, actors, musicians and artists.

NITV also partnered with the AFL to produce a new multiplatform weekly football show, Yokayi Footy, to enhance the channel’s relevance with its younger audience and positively impact the lives of Indigenous Australians.

With the 2020 AFL season delayed due to COVID-19, Yokayi Footy temporarily modified its format and reflected on the best moments of previous AFL seasons. The series returned to its original format when the AFL season returned.

Growing pathways in the Indigenous production sector

Since becoming a part of SBS in 2012, NITV has worked to grow pathways for Indigenous practitioners through initiatives developed with state funding agencies, partnering on several initiatives including funding of a fellowship placement as part of the Centralised project developed for practitioners in the Northern Territory and South Australia.

The Screen Queensland and NITV Origins initiative continued to break new ground through the development and production of a format-based factual series by local storytellers.

NITV also partnered with Screen Australia for the No Ordinary Black initiative, making it the channel’s first steps into scripted commissioning outside children’s live action programming.

Black Lives Matter

As conversations about race, equality and justice reverberated around the world following the death of George Floyd in late May 2020, NITV pivoted its programming to examine the parallels between injustices in the United States and Australia, highlighting the deaths in custody of hundreds of Indigenous people in Australia and systemic institutional failures. The team delivered important news and programming for audiences, providing a safe space for communities to explore global and local issues, and a unique and vital perspective for all Australians.

NITV News followed global and national news stories, while The Point produced special panel shows in response (see Indigenous News and Current Affairs). NITV and SBS on Demand curated a special collection of films and TV programs exploring the issues and themes raised through the Black Lives Matter movement, including powerful stories and insightful perspectives from around the world and in Australia. The featured programs explored moments in history that have shaped the world and stories of trailblazers who fought against injustice, and examined the challenges of prejudice that exist today.

NITV broadcast the documentary, Our Law, filmed at Western Australia’s first Indigenous-run police station in the remote community of Warakurna. A relevant and powerful story broadcast as part of the Karla Grant Presents offering, it provided an example of law enforcement that centres Indigenous people in the conduct of policing, using language as a means of empathy and connection to community.

Landmark network events

In 2019-20, NITV led the delivery of several flagship content events across the SBS network, with Indigenous talent and issues at the core. SBS is implementing an Indigenous Content Strategy to increase the volume of First Nations storytelling in 2020-21 and to bring that distinctive Indigenous content to a broader audience, including through these network-wide content events and moments.

The Beach

NITV cemented its reputation for commissioning critically acclaimed documentaries, with a slate of groundbreaking, new-format, factual programming that anchors the channel with ‘Event TV’ moments.

Award-winning filmmaker Warwick Thornton continued his partnership with NITV in the creation of a self-exploration series, The Beach. Touching on important and timely themes such as isolation, mental health and the healing power of country, it premiered as an SBS and NITV three-hour simulcast event in May, attracting wide critical acclaim, as NITV’s most successful commission ever. The NITV broadcast achieved a combined reach of more than 100,000 total individuals.1

“[The Beach is] an aria, soliloquy, confessional, a one-man show, a boy’s own adventure. It is also the standout TV program of 2020.” – Crikey

Always Was, Always Will Be – January 26, 2020

NITV reflected the diversity of perspectives held on January 26 with the aim of encouraging meaningful conversations about the nation’s history and national identity.

As a network event, the Always Was, Always Will Be programming slate delivered special events, premieres and news with a focus on encouraging greater understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives. The week of programming culminated on January 26 with the live broadcast of the Sunrise Ceremony from Sydney’s North Head, simulcast on NITV, SBS and, for the first time, Channel 10, reaching over 126,300 people.2 Extending its reach, it was broadcast across remote Australia through the National Indigenous Radio Service (NIRS) network and internationally via Maori TV in New Zealand and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in Canada. On digital, NITV was trending on Twitter and experienced high engagement on the NITV Facebook page.

During the week, The Point explored the theme of identity and Living Black interviewed Sydney Festival Director, Wesley Enoch. On January 25, NITV broadcast the three-hour Vigil through the streets of Sydney ending at Barangaroo to mark the day of mourning. Other content included NITV’s own internally-produced drone series, Bamay and NITV’s first Slow TV commission documentary Marni, featuring artist Allery Sandy creating ‘Ngarndu Marni’ – a dot-work painting of her homeland, the Pilbara region.

NAIDOC WEEK – 7-14 July 2019

SBS is the official media and education partner for NAIDOC Week (see NAIDOC Week 2019).

NITV and SBS marked NAIDOC Week 2019 with a special slate of programming and national on-air coverage right across the network, which included the premiere of the award-winning NITV Commission, She Who Must Be Loved.

The NAIDOC Awards kicked off NAIDOC Week, with coverage of the Awards available on SBS and SBS On Demand. The NITV live broadcast grew by 43 per cent year on year and the Awards were also streamed live via NITV’s Facebook page.

In addition to the on-air coverage, as the official education partner, SBS collaborated with Indigenous educators to produce resources for primary and secondary schools throughout Australia.

NITV’s Facebook engagement saw a 99 per cent increase year on year during NAIDOC Week.

Indigenous News and Current Affairs

With the aim of reaching more Australians and making a greater impact across all platforms, NITV operates its Indigenous News and Current Affairs (INACA) service via one newsroom, with multiplatform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander video journalists equipped to deliver news and current affairs across television, radio and online.

INACA delves into the issues that affect communities and covers events important to First Nations Australians.

In 2019-20, the INACA team travelled the country, reporting on key moments including the Uluru closure, the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Awards, the National Indigenous Music Awards, NAIDOC Week, and Garma Festival.

The Point

NITV’s flagship news and current affairs program, The Point, tells compelling stories and investigates the most important issues affecting Indigenous Australians. During the one-hour weekly program, hosts Rachael Hocking and John-Paul Janke are joined by a team of journalists to examine topics ranging from health to arts, sport, politics, native title, and the environment.

From examining the Australian identity and where the Indigenous story sits within the national psyche on January 26, to exploring the devastating effects COVID-19 have on Aboriginal communities in Australia, the team provided audiences the most up to date information in Indigenous news and current affairs.

In 2019, The Point was recognised at the NSW Premier’s Multicultural Communications Awards, for a report by Andrea Booth that won Best Audio-Visual Report.

In 2020, The Point team planned to travel to communities each month to showcase issues of importance to them, however this was halted in March due to COVID-19.

In response to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and national discussions on issues including race, police brutality and deaths in custody, The Point produced four extra one-hour live panel shows. Netflix encouraged local viewers to switch off Netflix and tune into NITV’s The Point, creating a 383 per cent uplift in audiences.


NITV News is the anchor for the channel’s news and current affairs slate, both on air and online, broadcasting nightly on NITV.

Wrapping up the week, NITV News Nula, hosted by Natalie Ahmat, covered the big stories and explored the issues that matter to Indigenous communities including Aboriginal deaths in custody, the Bayles family’s globally followed battle against bullying and how the Australian bushfires continue to impact the community across Australia.

To cover the COVID-19 pandemic, NITV News moved to a seven-day-a-week format, to ensure audiences remained informed about the unfolding crisis.

Living Black

Australia’s longest-running Indigenous current affairs programs, Living Black, returned for season 27 in 2020, featuring compelling human stories and personal interviews with the likes of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Senator Pat Dodson and American lawyer and social justice activist, Bryan Stevenson.

Living Black was awarded the First National’s Media Award for Best Interview or Oral History in 2019 for Karla Grant’s interview with Uncle Jack Charles. In 2020, there were plans to produce a premiere season of Living Black Investigation, however these plans did not go ahead due to COVID-19.


In 2019-20, NITV continued its commitment to sport, as a vehicle to promote reconciliation and shared success for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous audiences.

During the NRL season, panel show Over the Black Dot continued to celebrate Indigenous players and their achievements with special guest segments bringing the best of the NRL to NITV. With the 2020 NRL season delayed due to COVID-19, Over the Black Dot modified its format and reflected on the best moments of the Koori Knockout. George Rose led the conversation each week, alongside the regular panelists, plus guest football stars. The series returned to its original format at the end of May when the NRL season returned.

In an exciting new take on the traditional sport panel shows, NITV launched Yokayi Footy. The program marked the beginning of a partnership between NITV and the AFL. Premiering in March 2020, Yokayi Footy is hosted by former AFL player Tony Armstrong, AFLW advocate and youth pioneer Bianca Hunt, and former Australian Indigenous Team of the Century player Darryl White. The trio bring AFL debate and conversation to the table through a unique and youthful Indigenous lens, amplifying the AFL stories that matter most to Indigenous communities.

“That’s a central motivation behind Yokayi...: to use football as a framework for larger conversations. Not just about race relations, but about all things Indigenous and, indeed, all things Australian.” - Fairfax

NITV brings sport from across the country to the screen, broadcasting around 500 hours of grassroots competitions, including the Murri Rugby League Carnival in Brisbane, the Central Australian Football League from Alice Springs and the National Indigenous Basketball Championship.

NITV continued its coverage of community and regional competitions 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 valuable health messages, celebrating Indigenous participation and inspiring future sporting heroes.

Digital Growth

Delivering NITV’s strategic goal of redefining audience engagement, NITV has been growing its digital output with pleasing results. NITV saw a 17 per cent growth in unique browsers, and Facebook engagement grew by 56 per cent. Initiatives such as the Koori Knockout offering in October 2019 helped grow engagement, with the digital team complementing the television offering by delivering all Field One Games to Facebook Live. Over one million people viewed these games on Facebook.

NITV audiences were highly engaged in 2019-20 through social media platforms and the mobile-optimised website, with nearly 271,000 followers on Facebook, 46,600 on Twitter and more than 40,000 on Instagram.


  1. OzTAM + RegTAM, SBS Network, Sun-Sat, 01/07/2019-30/06/2020, Combined 5min Cons Reach + Combined Average Audience, Total Individuals, Consolidated 28.
  2. OzTAM + RegTAM, SBS Network, Sun-Sat, 01/07/2019-30/06/2020, Combined 5min Cons Reach + Combined Average Audience, Total Individuals, Consolidated 28.