Regional market buoying SCA’s revenue, while the focus shifts to the potential of digital audio-on-demand

Former Features Editor

Back in August, Southern Cross Austereo CEO Grant Blackley suggested that the changes made throughout the 2016-17 financial year had lay the foundation for the company’s future – yet the first quarter of the new financial year has failed to deliver the intended results for the metro market.

Speaking at the annual general meeting today, Blackley along with SCA chairman Peter Bush reflected on the figures for the first quarter of the 2017-18 financial year – namely, two difficult months out of three in the quarter saw the gap between SCA’s metro and regional markets widen further.

Bush championed the increase in advertising dollars generated in regional Australia after a “concerted and targeted strategy”, however it was Blackley that was left to dissect the numbers further – SCA’s revenue for metropolitan radio for the first quarter is down 6 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2016, while regional radio revenue improved 2 per cent.

On a more positive note, Blackley opened his address with some of the network’s recent changes to talent and show formats.

“With Hamish & Andy our current Hit Network Drive hosts retiring from radio (for the time being) this has provided SCA the opportunity to evaluate the format and importantly changing habits around drive time commutes,” he said.

“We recognise the traditional Drive slot [of] Monday to Friday, 4pm to 6pm does not represent a modern nor typical representation of a metropolitan commute – which we believe aligns closer to a broader definition being 3pm to 7pm.”

Blackley was confident that, despite challenging trading conditions, the launch of the PodcastOne network would lead to new revenue streams in the new digital audio-on-demand business.

“We are predominantly focussed on audio and we will optimise those assets by continuing to develop our national Hit and Triple M brands, by extending our audience reach through our digital radio assets and building our library of compelling original audio-on-demand content through PodcastOne,” he concluded.


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