James Warburton on his content-led growth strategy for Seven

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 26 August 2020
The Farmer Wants a Wife

Jame Warburton, the CEO of Seven West Media, is positioning the company to capitalise on market recovery and consolidation.

And that means content. Four new tentpoles have been commissioned for 2021. Big Brother and Farmer Wants a Wife have been renewed.

“Our content led growth strategy which launched in June with Big Brother and was followed by Farmer Wants a Wife is delivering dramatically improved results for Seven,” he says.

The media group yesterday posted a full year statutory loss of $162 million with revenue down 14% to $1.23 billion. Net profit after tax for continuing operations and excluding significant items was $40.8 million, down 66.1%.

However, Seven's content-led transformation strategy is gaining momentum despite challenging markets.

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“Combined with our daily content spine which is a dominant number 1 in Sunrise, The Morning Show, 7NEWS, The Chase, Home and Away, Better Homes and Gardens and Sport with the AFL and Horse Racing, our tentpole focus at 7.30pm Sunday to Tuesday is working, helping us win the content battle.

“Seven has won 10 of the last 11 weeks of ratings. Our seamless Digital strategy with 7plus has also seen us transition from a distant number two to a dominant number one in the growing BVOD market.”

Asked about the economics of a strategy to replace scripted shows with reality TV, Warburton replied: “I think the largest variant is what it does to ratings.”

The question isn’t, he says, about reality versus drama versus other genres.

“It's actually about picking the right content that can drive advertising outcomes there,” he told an analyst brieifing.

“More importantly, it's not just about linear television, it's actually about growing meaningful digital earnings as well, which you're seeing with BVOD (Broadcaster Video on Demand.

“The industry has effectively built a $200 million BVOD industry in two years. And then there's a $1.5 billion AVOD (Advertisement based video on demand) market which has been dominated by Facebook and YouTube.

‘And so, huge growth opportunities for us to unlock as we move into VOZ (the new TV reporting standard), which is due in the market in December this year.”

Warburton says 7plus has delivered an average monthly commercial free-to-air BVOD share of 46% from April to July, growing faster than any competitor BVOD service and at double the rate of market growth.

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