HT&E, the owner of radio network ARN, says clients have started advertising again as lockdown restrictions ease.
However, revenue for the half year to June fell 29% to $93 million and the company posted a statutory loss of $59.3 million for the six months to June.
The interim dividend has been suspended.
“ARN is weathering the storm, with overall radio listenership increasing, and streaming and digital audio consumption growing. Our clear commercial strategy, together with great talent integration, is winning share and our Q3 and forward bookings are showing improved momentum," says HT&E chairman Hamish McLennan, announcing results.
Trading in July improved and finished down 27% for the month compared to -46% for the June quarter as clients restarted advertising as lockdown restrictions eased.
August and September are tracking similar to July.
The company says early pacing suggests this trend could improve further into the fourth quarter if current COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne moderate and are not tightened elsewhere.
CEO Ciaran Davis says the company has a clear strategy to transition from a linear radio business to an audience centric, digital audio and content business.
“Radio will continue to play a very important role in consumer consumption of audio, and maximising returns from our core business operations remains the priority.
"We are looking to build more engaged audiences through data and personalisation, using enhanced digital audio formats and delivering new products for advertisers with greater targeting capabilities.
“ARN is in a very strong position to utilise the power of its brands and personalities, as well as its exclusive iHeartRadio licence, to help make this transition.
"Our iHeartRadio registered users now stands at 1.7 million; listening to live radio on the platform grew 9%, podcasting increased 33% and music streaming was up 31%.
“Our focus for the next six months is building on our sector leadership position in audio entertainment and while remaining vigilant around costs, investing in the skills and capability we need to deliver on our strategy.
“COVID-19 has provided key insights around audio, and our audiences are now more engaged with audio than ever before. We are committed to growing market share and are incredibly well positioned to benefit as advertising markets recover.”
The numbers for the half year to June:
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