National Indigenous Television
Logo used since 2021
Broadcast areaNationally
NetworkSBS Television
HeadquartersArtarmon, New South Wales, Australia
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 576i for the SDTV feed)
OwnerSpecial Broadcasting Service
Sister channelsSBS
SBS Viceland
SBS World Movies
SBS Food
SBS WorldWatch
Launched13 July 2007; 16 years ago (13 July 2007)
12 December 2012; 11 years ago (12 December 2012) (nationwide free-to-air)
  • 34 (HD)
  • 36 (SD)

National Indigenous Television (NITV) is an Australian free-to-air television channel that broadcasts programming produced and presented largely by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It includes the six-day-a-week NITV News Update, with programming including other news and current affairs programmes, sports coverage, entertainment for children and adults, films and documentaries covering a range of topics. Its primary audience is Indigenous Australians, but many non-Indigenous people tune in to learn more about the history of and issues affecting the country's First Nations peoples.

NITV was initially only carried by cable and satellite providers, along with some limited over-the-air transmissions in certain remote areas. NITV was re-launched in December 2012 by the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) as a free-to-air channel.


Predecessors of NITV

Indigenous groups and individuals lobbied the Australian Government to fund a nationwide Indigenous television service in the 1980s and 1990s, however no major political party championed this cause.[citation needed]

The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) based Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association received a licence to cover the remote parts of the Northern Territory and South Australia in 1988. With this it launched the Nine Network affiliate Imparja. This licence was later extended to include the remote parts of eastern Australia and Norfolk Island as well. For a time it carried a central Australian news program, and an Indigenous children's program.[citation needed]

In the late 1990s, Imparja launched the free-to-view Imparja Info Channel (also known as Channel 31) on the satellite Optus Aurora service, providing largely Aboriginal programming directly to homes and via a network of BRACS transmitters to remote Aboriginal communities. In 2001, the Alice Springs-based Indigenous Community Television (ICTV) was formed, and organised most of the Aboriginal programming on this channel. In 2004, Imparja stated a desire to run a better funded Indigenous service, at least within its license area.[1]

In the same year, a voluntary NITV Committee was formed and a summit was held in Redfern, Sydney. The summit involved a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media professionals and community members committed to the establishment of a national Indigenous broadcasting service.[citation needed]

Following an Australian Government review in 2005, the Government announced $48.5 million in funding for NITV.[2]

Meanwhile, the Imparja Info Channel was replaced by a full-time ICTV channel in 2006.[citation needed]


In 2007, NITV established a head office in Alice Springs and a television arm in Sydney. On 13 July 2007 NITV launched,[3] replacing ICTV on Optus Aurora and in the remote Aboriginal communities it previously reached. It soon after also became available free-to-air on Optus D1 to Australia and eastern Papua New Guinea.[citation needed]

NITV launched on 1 November 2007 on Foxtel and Austar's satellite services on channel 180, with it becoming available on their cable services soon after. It showed Australian programs and sports like The Marngrook Footy Show, and the annual NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout.[4]

On 27 October 2008, NITV was added to Sydney's Digital Forty Four datacasting service on channel 40.[5] On 30 April 2010, this service shut down.[6]

Under SBS

In 2010, the Australian government commissioned a wide-ranging review of its investment in the Indigenous broadcasting and media sector. The review was headed up by retired senior public servant Neville Stevens with the assistance of Expert Panel members Laurie Patton and Kerrynne Liddle. The review recommended that NITV continue to receive government funding only on the basis that it was re-structured.[citation needed]

Subsequently, Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy invited NITV to enter in negotiations with the Special Broadcasting Service to access one of that network's unused digital terrestrial channels. On 8 May 2012, the SBS received $15 million per-year in government funding dedicated to a new free-to-air Indigenous Australian channel which would replace the existing NITV in July 2012, with 90% of staff transferring to this new channel.[7][8][9]

SBS took over the management and operation of NITV on 1 July 2012, and NITV was re-launched on 12 December 2012 by SBS as a free-to-air channel on Freeview channel 34. The channel launched with a live special from Uluru, From the Heart of Our Nation, followed by a special episode of Living Black focusing on Indigenous broadcasting and media in Australia. A prime time Celebration Concert was also aired on NITV and SBS One, featuring performances from Uluru by Indigenous musicians.[10]

Tanya Denning-Orman, a Birri Gubba and Guugu Yimidhirr woman was appointed to lead NITV, a position she retains into 2021.[11]

On 29 February 2016, SBS unveiled a refreshed brand and revamped schedule for NITV with an increased focus on its central charter, Indigenous news and current affairs.[12]

Denning-Orman was appointed SBS's first Director of Indigenous Content in early 2012. In December 2020, changes were made to NITV's senior content editorial leadership team: Kyas Hepworth (née Sherriff) was appointed Head of Commissioning and Programming; Rhanna Collins to Head of Indigenous News and Current Affairs; Karla Grant, while remaining host of Living Black and Karla Grant Presents, expanded her role, becoming Executive Producer, Living Black & Special Projects.[11]

On 12 December 2021, NITV unveiled an updated logo and branding by indigenous design agency Gilimbaa, which combines SBS's mercator logo with traditional clapsticks, and colors reflecting different terrains of the country. It was accompanied by revisions to its primetime schedule, as well as the new image campaign "Reimagine Australia".[13] The following year, NITV marked its tenth anniversary as a free-to-air channel.[14]

NITV announced in May 2023 that it would be abandoning its official Twitter account, citing the "racism and hate" that the network encounters daily on the platform.[15]

On 31 October 2023, as part of SBS' 2024 upfronts, it was announced that NITV would become a high-definition channel on 5 December 2023, using channel 34. A standard-definition simulcast was also made available on channel 36.[16] The following week, NITV marked its eleventh anniversary as a free-to-air channel.[citation needed]


NITV's line-up focuses on programming of interest to and showcasing Indigenous Australians, including documentaries, current affairs programs, sports, drama, adult animation, and a block of domestic and international children's programming focusing on Indigenous and Aboriginal culture (under the name Jarjums), and films.[10] It also broadcasts programs relating to First Nations culture worldwide.

News and current affairs

News and current affairs on NITV are covered by NITV News Update, Nula, The Point and Living Black. In December 2020, Rhanna Collins was promoted to Head of Indigenous News and Current Affairs. The Point's audience rose significantly during the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement.[11]

NITV News Update is the network's national ten minute news program, broadcast nightly and covering stories relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers. It is the only nightly television news service that covers entirely Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories from across the country. Started in February 2008, the program began with 5 minutes of news, followed by 15 minutes before extending to a half-hour bulletin.[citation needed] This was later reduced to 10 minutes.

Natalie Ahmat is the news anchor.[17]


NITV is Australia's second biggest free-to-air broadcaster of rugby league after the Nine Network. The station has broadcast the Koori Knockout since 2012, and has often shown the annual NRL All Stars match on delay. The network also has a weekly flagship rugby league show, Over the Black Dot.[18] Starting in 2024, the network gained the rights to broadcast one game a week of the European Super League, and the annual World Club Challenge.[19]

In March 2020, a new Australian rules panel show, Yokayi Footy, aimed at a young audience, replaced the Marngrook Footy Show, which lost carriage by the network in late 2019. Yokayi Footy is co-hosted by Tony Armstrong, Bianca Hunt and Darryl White.[20]

Other programs

Volumz is a music show hosted by Alec Doomadgee, highlighting the best of the Australian Indigenous music scene. It was produced from 2011 to 2012.[21]

Programs in 2018–2019 included:[22]

See also


  1. ^ "Services Provision Review". DCITA. July 2004. Archived from the original on 10 September 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2007.
  2. ^ "New Network". The Australian. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2007.
  3. ^ "Find out more about NITV". Beyond 3 per cent. SBS Media. Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  4. ^ NITV – Media Room
  5. ^ "New Digital Content on Sydney Television Trial". Broadcast Australia. 27 October 2008. Archived from the original on 3 June 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  6. ^ Gonzalez, Miguel (30 April 2010). "Digital Forty Four TV services go off the air". Mumbrella. Retrieved 20 August 2023.
  7. ^ Knox, David (8 May 2012). "$158m funding boost for SBS". TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  8. ^ Knox, David (9 May 2012). "New Indigenous TV channel for SBS". TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  9. ^ Knox, David (10 May 2012). "SBS – but wait there's more..." TV Tonight. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b Knox, David (5 December 2012). "NITV: Launch Day". TV Tonight. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "National Indigenous Television announces leadership team appointments". NITV. 18 December 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  12. ^ "NITV reveals 2016 schedule and new look brand". IF. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  13. ^ "NITV unveils bold new look with re-designed branding and clapstick logo". NITV. 10 December 2021. Retrieved 12 December 2021.
  14. ^ Perry, Kevin (12 December 2022). "FROM THE HEART OF OUR NATION | LIVE Uluru concert event tonight to 10th Anniversary celebration on NITV". TV Blackbox. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  15. ^ Knox, David (22 May 2023). ""We've had enough of the racism": NITV quits Twitter". TV Tonight. Retrieved 22 May 2023.
  16. ^ Knox, David (31 October 2023). "2024 Upfronts: SBS / NITV". TV Tonight. Retrieved 31 October 2023.
  17. ^ "NITV News - News and Current Affairs". SBS On Demand. 6 January 2020. Retrieved 21 December 2020.
  18. ^ "Yokayi Footy & Over The Black Dot return for 2022 with new faces". NITV. Special Broadcasting Service. 2 March 2022. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  19. ^ Butler, Dan (19 February 2024). "The UK's Rugby Super League is coming to NITV for the first time". NITV. Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 24 February 2024.
  20. ^ Quinn, Karl; Colangelo, Anthony (6 March 2020). "New Indigenous footy panel show Yokayi to replace axed Marngrook". The Age. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  21. ^ SBS - Volumz S3 Ep12 - Series 3 Ep 12
  22. ^ "Special Broadcasting Service Corporation Annual Report 2018–2019 | NITV". Australian Government Transparency Portal. 30 October 2019. Retrieved 25 November 2020.