Nine concedes it’s been a ‘difficult year’ for its radio brands

Former Editor & Content Director

Nine Radio may own stations which frequently boast the largest audience share – including 2GB in Sydney and 3AW in Melbourne – but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing since the media giant took full ownership from Macquarie Media.

In its annual report, released this week, the company conceded it had lost ground from a financial perspective.

“It has been a difficult year for Nine Radio. Whilst from a ratings and audience perspective, Nine’s talk stations maintained their lead audience positions, profitability was disappointing. Metro radio market revenues declined by 20% across the year, and 30% in the June half. Nine’s revenue decline of 22% reflected a clear loss of share during the year,” the report said.

In a bid to stymie the damage, Nine Radio cut costs by 8% across the most recent financial year – or $8 million. Much of this cost saving came from consolidation, and initiatives which came into play following the onset of COVID-19, Nine said.

Nine has been on a campaign of revamping its radio assets since taking over, including installing new talent, such as Ben Fordham in Sydney Breakfast, Deb Knight in Sydney Afternoons, and Dee Dee Dunleavy on Melbourne’s Afternoon shift. The talent, as well as its ‘new approach’ to talk radio, is part of Nine’s attempt to attract a new type of audience to AM talkback.

It is also attempting to ‘simplify’ radio buying for brands and agencies to get its market share back up. And earlier this year, the group completed the ‘transformation’ of its sales teams, bringing the radio and television branches together.

The annual report noted that all these changes should culminate in its radio brands getting a larger slice of the advertising pie when the economy recovers.

“With these changes now implemented, Nine is confident that, combined with the extension of the 9News brand and the restructuring of the sales team, this will result in improved returns when advertising market conditions improve,” it said.

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25 Sep 2020 - 5:13 pm

I have never seen a station discard its entire audience as quickly as 2GB.

Brian Coogan
25 Sep 2020 - 6:16 pm

Nine sadly is on a hiding to nowhere here. Cross selling of radio and television is completely ludicrous at this time…..indeed anytime….especially in the face of the social media giants, and the plethora of radio stations available nationally and globally 24/7 through streaming.
The Nine network should have stuck to its core business by focusing entirely on restoring their television brand to the lofty and enviable heights it enjoyed for decades as the undisputed top network.
In fairness, I am relieved that the Australian Financial Review’s impeccable journalism has not been compromised since the Fairfax brand dissolved following the recent Nine acquisition.

26 Sep 2020 - 9:35 pm

Brian Coogan … 15 years ago perhaps but all free to air TV is battling for eyeballs and relevance with so many online alternatives. It’s not just a matter of focussing on one medium. You need to be like Eddie McGuire – everywhere.

The Investor
27 Sep 2020 - 3:29 pm

Free to Air TV, Newspapers and AM radio stations……the only thing missing is saddle making business for the horses lining up in Pitt Street.

28 Sep 2020 - 7:40 am

There are two sure things in radio in 2020.
2GB is going to plummet and Kate Tim and Joel I’ll decline for rest of this year.
Nothing is surer.


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