ARN’s parent company HT&E flags market consolidation & reveals it is open to opportunities
Here, There & Everywhere (HT&E), the parent company of the Australian Radio Network (ARN) has revealed to investors it believes there will be further consolidation across Australia’s media market.
Given its strong financial position and its “deep media experience”, chairman Hamish McLennan noted the company would be looking at further opportunities.
“Looking ahead to 2021, HT&E’s business remains well placed to capitalise on the exciting growth opportunity in digital audio,” he told investors this morning. “We have the benefit of a proven senior management ream, world-recognised broadcasters and a clear focus around maintaining our position as the leading audio entertainment business in Australia.
“We believe that there will be continued consolidation in media markets and with its deep media experience, HT&E’s board will be looking for further opportunities to maximise shareholder value.”
CEO and managing director Ciaran Davis, meanwhile, spoke about the toll COVID-19 and its associated paycuts and stand downs had taken on ARN staff, however he said he was pleased the network had not resorted to deep discounts to hang onto commercial deals.
“Pleasingly, our consistent ratings success together with a clearly articulated commercial go-t0-market approach saw us gain commercial share in the second half of the year,” he said.
“Our broadcast radio revenues have now exceeded the market growth in all but one quarter over the past two years and, importantly, we have not relied on price discounting to win share, setting us up for a faster recovery in 2021.”
He said with the troublesome 2020 now behind it, ARN had emerged in stronger operational and strategic shape, and it has a clear focus on how to drive long-term growth, particularly in relation to digital audio.
He highlighted the growing importance of revenues from digital audio, which grew 122% on a like-for-like basis in 2020. Monthly podcast revenues also tipped over the $1 million mark for the first time in November, despite the commercial market for the sector still being “relatively immature”.
ARN will also be increasingly leveraging its iHeartRadio brand, which it has licensed through until 2036, he said.
“Looking to the future, we are building a business that will become Australia’s destination of choice for audio content and commercial innovation,” he added.
“We are implementing a strategy that is delivering results today and setting the business up to capitalise on the exciting opportunities presenting themselves in the world of audio.”
Perhaps hinting at a subscription or consumer-payment model, Davis also flagged the company is looking to move beyond revenue coming purely from advertising, and would be looking at new monetisation opportunities.
Investors at the presentation had the opportunity to ask questions, however none were put forward.
HT&E’s remuneration report was passed with 99.02% of votes.
The re-election of McLennan as chair also passed, however 9.02% voted against the motion.
Last week, HT&E overtook rival Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and had a higher market capitalisation on the ASX.
At the time, HT&E was values at $503.12 million, and SCA (SXL on the ASX) was $480.87 million.
Today, HT&E is down to $489.26 million, while SCA is back on top at $495.36 million.