Seven West Media revenue down 4.1% due to decline in advertising

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 17 February 2016

Seven West Media has reported revenue of $895.7 million in its first half-yearly report of the 2016 fiscal year - down 4.1% year-on-year.

The group's profit after tax, excluding significant items, grew 2.1% to $140.3 million.

Seven maintained the largest market share and revenue in free-to-air TV with 11 of the top 20 programs. But a general decline in advertising has impacted upon the business.

"The metro television market remained relatively flat for the year while the newspaper and magazines advertising revenue remained under pressure," Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner says. "Digital revenue across the group delivered strong growth driven by new initiatives including that launch of live streaming."

TV advertising revenue decreased by 5.8% to $562.3 million, but income from fees, program sales and other items was up 25.1% to $100.6 million, leading to total TV revenue of $662.9 million.

“To be blunt, I don't think it was our best half," Worner says. "We had a few things that just didn't work. And you know what, you need to have a few things that don't work. We had Restaurant Revolution, we took a big swing and it didn't work. You need to fail every now and then to find out where the boundary is.

“On top of that the other guys had a lot of live sport in that half – a world cup of cricket, and Ashes, a Rugby World Cup. None of those things will be happening this half."

Seven West Media's newspaper business, largely made up of The West Australian, reported a 11.4% drop in revenue to $121.4 million, due to a 14.8% decline in advertising revenue.

The magazines division, which includes New Idea, Better Homes and Gardens, and Marie Claire, decreased by 7.1% to $106 million, again down to an advertising drop of 15.1%.

Digital advertising, excluding Yahoo7, was up 95%, but these results are incorporated in the main business units rather than being separated.

Plus7 video streams are up 34% to 30.1 million year-on-year, and Presto SVOD subscriber growth is reportedly up 210% in the first half in 2016.

Program sales and third party productions doubled in revenue and is now a significant revenue stream for the business. 7Productions, 7Wonder and 7Beyond produces 670 hours of programming per annum.

"We continue to invest in producing our own content locally and internationally which we called out as a priority the last time we were in front of you," Worner says. 

"This focus is paying off with our 3rd party production and program sales doubling this half, off the back of commissions from Foxtel, The Travel Channel, various UK broadcasters and continued demand for our formats and finished programs overseas.

"For many years we have been reliant on the advertising market for the majority of our revenue and this will continue to be the cornerstone in the medium term. However we also need to diversify our business model to tap into new revenue pools in e-commerce, transactions and subscriptions."

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