Seven 'over-delivers' on debt saving methods

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 21 August 2018

Seven West Media (SWM) has managed to deliver on its cost-saving target of $40 million, adding a further $21m on its initial target, after a slow start to the first half of the year.

SWM CEO Tim Worner said in a statement that the business had "over-delivered" on its original cost targets, claiming to have "significantly reduced" its debt.

“Our transformation accelerated in the second half of the financial year and delivered $61 million of cost savings on our initial $40 million target," he says.

"The transformation will continue in FY19, targeting further cost reductions in each of the three operating businesses and will deliver a $10-20 million net group cost reduction, including cricket."

Despite a revenue decline, down to $1.62bn, compared to $1.67bn in the last financial year, Seven was still able to record a profit of $134.9m.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $270.9 million were down from $306.7 million in the prior fiscal year with EBIT of $235.6 million after $261.4 million in FY18.

Focusing on the ratings, Worner added that this was a strong contributor to the network bouncing back from a slow start to 2018, with Seven delivering a "record-breaking" second half, taking a 41.6% commercial share, its highest in history.

Seven stated that it remained confident it would continue its ratings momentum right through until the end of 2018, with the AFL finals and new cricket offering acting as the main drivers.

"Our cricket deal provides us 400 hours of premium sport across the summer which we will carry live and free across the screens of Seven," Worner says.

"Having the number one network, channel and multichannel is particularly advantageous as we are now operating in a growing market."

Digital developments

Seven revealed a 100% growth in its digital advertising revenue, led by the launch of 7Plus, securing a 42.1% commercial broadcast video on demand revenue share.

"It gives us a fully owned and operated platform to evolve our distribution model and drive greater monetization of our content," Worner says.

"Strategic new content deals are reshaping the acquisition and monetisation of rights and our 2.6 million monthly viewers now have more than 6,000 on-demand episodes to choose from."

SWM slide

Looking forward

Seven will look to continue its focus on the ratings for the remainder of 2018, targeting a 40% summer share, boosted by the network's 'mega days' of cricket, which includes 13 days of both test cricket and the Big Bash League.

It will also continue to invest in produced content and its digital platforms, drawing greater value from its owned content, while pushing for greater adoption of 7plus and advertising interest through BVOD, particularly on Connected TV.

“We are executing our strategy at great pace, maintaining our focus on the core to continue to drive a stronger performance in ratings and revenue, while transforming the business to be more lean and agile," Worner says.

"Growing our studios business, digital assets and investment portfolio underpins growth across the business."

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