Nine’s remarkable recovery: Peter Costello at AGM

In FY21, Nine Entertainment staged “a remarkable recovery,” Chairman Peter Costello told yesterday’s Annual General Meeting.

“The outcome, which is a tribute to the efforts of our employees, customers, and management, produced a good result for our shareholders,” he said.

“The advertising market, which had turned down so sharply in March 2020, rebounded through October, November and December last year and it has now settled at, if not above, the trajectory it had pre-COVID. Our core advertising business generates the strong revenue that supports new investment. The revenues are not merely a reflection of the underlying economy, they also reflect the relative strength of the Nine assets. Across the year, Nine’s television business, through both the Network and 9Now, talk-radio stations and metro mastheads, attracted the leading audiences in their respective markets.”

Nine reported strong profit growth for FY21 with Group EBITDA up 43% and Net Profit After Tax up 83% on FY20.

The company announced dividends of 10.5 cents per share, up 50% on last year and consistent with its stated policy of delivering a 60-80% payout.

Nine Radio’s financials are a small part of the bigger company’s overall revenue and expenses, but its radio stations deliver high visibility and influence for the company.

Costello said: “While recovery in the radio market has lagged television, there were clear signs of improvement through the second half of FY21, with Nine Radio’s ad revenues up 13%. Nine’s Radio audiences grew by 11% across the year, importantly including growth of 14% in the 25- 54s, Nine’s key agency demographic, which was reflected in growth in agency share. Moreover, the cost base has been significantly re-aligned and there are clear signs of a positive trend in direct sales, which augers well for improved results as the market recovers, and lockdowns in the key cities of Melbourne and Sydney end.”

The Radio Division results were included in the Broadcast section of the company’s divisional results, $1.2 million and expenses of $332,000.

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