APN changes name to HT&E

The Australian Radio Network’s parent company APN will change its name to HT&E, short for Here There & Everywhere.

The name change was agreed to at the company’s annual general meeting today, where APN announced it will recommence paying dividends to shareholders after a significant restructure of the company over the past few years.

Explaining the name change CEO Ciaran Davis told shareholders:

When APN was established in 1988, the name stood for Australian Provincial Newspapers, directly pointing to the Company’s foundations in print media. In the decades since, APN has diversified and totally transformed – with the transactions in 2016 marking the final shift away from traditional publishing and eliminating any exposure we had to having to close that business.

Today, we are asking you to vote on the resolution to adopt a new name for the Company, as we move APN from being a holder of media assets and re‐position it as a tier one media business, uniquely placed in the media landscape.

I’m delighted to introduce you to HT&E – Here, There & Everywhere.

This is the first time a media company in Australia will bring together the critical away from home channels of radio, outdoor and digital – unlocking their power to better engage, influence and drive audience behaviour as we connect and interact with them, here, there and everywhere.

Commenting on the company’s radio business Davis explained that radio remains “an incredibly strong sector” with the market growing 4% in 2016, “thanks to the delivery and commercialisation of content across multiple platforms.” Overall listenership continues to grow with over 10 million people tuning in to commercial radio in 2016.

At ARN, ratings improvement saw good recovery of audience numbers towards the end of 2016 on both the KIIS and Pure Gold networks, according to Davis:

In Sydney, KIIS 1065 was the No.1 FM station and we finished the year with the No.1 and No.2 breakfast shows with Kyle & Jackie O and Jonesy & Amanda performing well. We were pleased to renew the contracts of Kyle & Jackie O for another five years, safeguarding against a significant loss to revenue had they moved to another station.

In Melbourne, Gold 104.3 is a strong and consistent performer and in 2016, was No.1 for four of the eight survey periods. Melbourne is a key market for us and in 2017 we are pleased with the progress both KIIS 101.1 and Gold are making.

In Brisbane, 97.3 again ended the year as the No.1 station with the No.1 breakfast show. A change of talent was necessary on the breakfast show in 2017 which has caused some initial loss of audience, however, the new team has settled well and we are confident they will regain top spot.

96FM in Perth was repositioned at the end of 2016 after a challenging year and has already seen its share increase by over 30 per cent, returning the station to its heritage position.

In Adelaide, Mix102.3 is the No.1 station with the No.1 FM breakfast show and continues to perform very strongly.

New commercial leadership, at both national level and in Melbourne, has been introduced to the business and Rob Atkinson, with over 25 years of media sales experience, was recently appointed CEO, moving from his role as CEO of Adshel where his strategic thinking and leadership successfully delivered record revenue and profits.

ARN sees itself as more than just an FM broadcast business, and plans to continue to improve its multi‐platform content distribution strategy, building new audiences and driving new revenue opportunities:

Our music streaming and digital entertainment brand, iHeartRadio, experienced strong growth in 2016 – and now has over 1.2 million App downloads, with 750,000 registered users, of which over 50% are under 30 years old. We launched over 70 new stations last year, and saw a 94% increase in mobile listening hours, as well as a 400% increase in podcasting.

Emotive, our specialist, end‐to‐end video content marketing agency, has been in operation for just over two years, and is now profitable and helping secure incremental revenue for the wider APN group. Since launch, it has had over 120 million video views and is setting the standard for shortform video content creation.

Acquiring Conversant Media was an important step in strengthening the Group’s digital presence and diversifying revenues, while broadening our audience to include a younger, more male‐focussed demographic.

With a combined digital audience of over 4 million unique users and over 1.6 million monthly video views, the integration of Conversant Media with ARN is progressing well, through the sharing of content and resources, as well as providing new advertising opportunities.

After four months of trading, APN Group revenues are in line with last year. Davis says the radio market “remained soft in March and April, on strong first half 2016 comps.”

ARN’s revenue YTD is behind expectations with the second half 2016 trend continuing into 2017. “Further cost action has been taken, however earnings have been impacted by contracted cost increases. Adshel’s performance improved significantly in March and forward bookings to June are in line with expectations. NZ is growing strongly on the back of accelerated digitisation while permits are obtained for some Australian locations. Revenue growth exceeds cost growth year to date,” said Davis.

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