ARN revenue down in ‘difficult market’ as CEO touts podcasting

Staff Writer

Australian Radio Network is betting big on podcasting after a “challenging” period.

Radio revenue was down 6% to $208.4 million last year, a decline from the $222.3 million reported in 2018. In the six months to December, revenue was down 9.8%.

Compare that to the 2.4% decline it suffered in the first half of the year, and you begin to understand just how quickly the advertising market has waned.

Total ARN revenue was also down 5% to $223.3 million, with some growth – 13% – from the digital and other to $14.9 million.

Here, There and Everywhere, ARN’s parent company, also endured a dip in revenue to $252.7m, down 7% from 2018.

CEO and managing director Ciaran Davis highlighted the network’s reach when talking to investors following the release of the financials.

“In a difficult market we have the highest audience reach in the history of ARN with 5.3 million listeners every week, and our commercial offering is winning share,” he said.

“This result reflects the success of our investment in talent and locking in the early extension of key long-term contracts across breakfast slots in Sydney and Melbourne provides assurance for our advertisers and great content for our listeners.”

But, at least according to Davis, there is hope. And it comes in the form of a growing audio-on-demand market: the company has extended its iHeartRadio deal to 2036.

“This licence, extended to 2036 on an exclusive basis, gives us an incredible competitive edge that simply cannot be replicated, and augments our investment in data and technology to grow our share of the digital audio advertising markets.”

Davis also said its currently delivering 30 million download impressions a month.

“The future of podcasting is particularly exciting, and we are well placed in this growing market as a result of launching iHeart Podcast Australia, now offering the most comprehensive podcast content offerings for listeners and advertisers…

“We are also delivering a clear and unique digital strategy providing radio, music streaming and podcasts all on the one platform, iHeartRadio.

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