Multicultural public broadcaster SBS has hired one of Australia’s top global media executives, Kathryn Fink, to lead its television division as it seeks to compete with international streaming services offering more and more online content. foreign language to local audiences.
Fink, a former senior News Corp executive who was recently behind the launch of Disney’s streaming service in Italy, said the multicultural broadcaster would be able to weather the threat of a highly competitive streaming market. She said she hoped to bring three decades of programming experience to the role Marshall Heald held until his resignation last December.
“[Streaming] definitely becoming more and more competitive both for the customers but also for the product,” says Fink. “But…SBS – they’re really a leader in space in Australia. They’re in a unique position because they were the first to launch on demand…as a destination. The other thing is the fact that [because] it has such a unique positioning that it is much less exposed to the threats of growing competition.
“I’m going back to a kind of dream job at the dream company. I raised my hand for this role because I truly believe in its mission and charter,” she said. “I love that it brings content to multicultural Indigenous communities across Australia, as well as bringing that kind of content to a wider Australian audience that has a bit more of a global and international perspective.”
Fink, who is also currently a freelance manager at Juventus Football Club, spent most of her early career working for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in roles including director of corporate finance and chairman of News Digital Ventures.
Fink has lived in Italy since helping launch Murdoch’s cable television network, Sky Italia, in the early 2000s before heading its programming division where she rose to prominence for productions such as Romanzo Criminale . Fink also ran Fox Networks in Italy before merging with Disney and launching Disney+ to market at the height of the pandemic.
Fink’s background is largely in programming, but roles to date have focused on commissioning content for subscription products, such as Sky Italia and Disney+. But Fink said there isn’t much of a distinction between finding programs that work on free-to-air TV like SBS or for a streaming platform like Disney+.
“I’ve worked in all different genres, and I’ve worked in different content areas – I’ve been responsible for go-live, acquisitions and programming, but also operations and distribution rights” , she said. “Ultimately, what connects – whether you work in subscription pay TV or a public broadcaster – is about understanding audiences and bringing relevant content to them.”