Seven West Media (SWM) CEO Tim Worner has hit back at competitors at the network's annual general meeting today, claiming that the broadcaster has "more young people watching Seven than any other network by some margin".
Worner fired back at claims that the network had an aging audience, adding that competitors attempted to "dismiss our achievements" by saying its audience is "old".
"This year we will not only win all the key demographics that are important to our commercial partners, we will have our highest ever share of the key 16-30 and 25-54 demos," Worner said.
"We are also very excited by the response to cricket. As Kurt [Burnette] said at our recent Allfronts, he's never seen as fast an uptake in his 28 years in television. December is looking very strong."
Delving further into Seven's financial outlook for the coming year, Worner admitted that the first quarter was flat with a softer September and October partly due to a pullback in spending from banking and insurance given the Royal Commission as well as government spending.
Off the back of the high level of interest from cricket advertisers, Worner said Seven's metro free-to-air revenue is expected to grow in the second quarter and the first half of this financial year.
The market performance in the second half is also expected to be stronger, driven by an increased ad spend from a number of sectors, including political advertising.
"Overall, we expect the metro TV ad market to be broadly flat in the financial year, but for Seven to increase share," Worner said.
Seven will upgrade its net cost savings targets for the 2019 financial year from $10-20 million to $20-30m and remains firm on its guidance issued at its FY18 result for the business to grow its underlying earnings before interest and taxes by 5-10% in FY19.
"There's been a lot of work undertaken at every level of the company to set ourselves up for the coming year and beyond," Worner said.
"Our momentum is growing and our people are aligned. It's not been easy, and we'd like to thank our teams of people across Australia for their efforts. It's their work that allows us to be confident in our outlook and our return to earnings growth."
Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at email@example.com