Audio streaming a premium advertising opportunity: Nine CEO Mike Sneesby

Nine Entertainment CEO Mike Sneesby spoke to radioinfo when the company’s half year results were released last week.


“Every part of our business has performed well. We’ve got strength across radio, television, publishing, our streaming business and Domain, where we hold 59%. The key take out here is the strength of the diversification of our businesses, our revenues and our profit streams.

“Today’s result is now coming out of digital parts of our business with, increasingly, significant growth opportunities ahead. Diversification and digital are two really important themes today.”

Broadcast video on demand originally derived from television catch-up when it first launched, but now the company is seeing significant audience numbers consuming their television content through live streams of Nine’s channels on Smart TVs.

“They’re watching our broadcasts with digitally inserted advertising… we are monetizing that… and now see such a great growth opportunity coming out of the digital side of our revenues that we expect the combination of, let’s say, internet streamed ad funded television on Nine Now and our free to air broadcast television to be positive going forward over the coming years.

“It’s a really important inflection point for the TV business… what we’re seeing is a structural change in the way that people are consuming television and we’re right at the heart of it.”

Can you charge advertisers more or less for those ads?

“It’s a difficult question to answer in an apples for apples way because we sell advertising quite differently in the digital domain, but suffice to say, we can extract a greater yield from advertising in the digital domain because it is targeted using the data that we have across 15 million and growing users who are logged into Nine’s platforms.

“We use that information to be able to target ads which are more meaningful to the audience, so more engaging for the audience and perform better for advertisers, given that they are directly targeted… there are some significant advantages to that, and with that comes an opportunity for a premium in advertising revenues.”


Nine Entertainment is finding that the same trend towards is also happening with live radio streaming.

“Those digital audio streams are growing today. On those streams you will currently hear the same advertising that you would hear on traditional broadcast radio… [but] as we move forward we will transition that advertising space into digitally inserted advertising in exactly the same way that we do for Nine Now, which means that we will be able to target advertising.

“This year Nine Radio shifted to a sign-in requirement across the digital streams. With that log in, it becomes part of that 15 million and growing pool of our online viewers and listeners. From an advertiser point of view, we’ll be able to target listeners throughout our radio network in in our digital streams in a very similar way to what we do in our television and our be VOD streams. That is a really exciting development for advertisers.”


Did Nine lose listeners when it introduced the sign-in?

“No. We obviously trialled it very carefully beforehand to understand what the behaviour was. We did see was a short term dip for a couple of days then we saw audiences return back to their normal level… The logged in scenario is becoming critical for digital businesses to be able to properly monetize their advertising, while still providing the user the ability to opt in or out.”


Radio is about 3% of Nine’s revenue. In the half year results Radio made just under $49 million and spent about $42 million, with a good profit margin, up 120% on the previous year.

“Tom Malone and the team had nine radio over the last couple of years have made some really important changes… revenues are returning, that converts pretty quickly to profitability given that we’re operating on a relatively fixed cost base. We’ve got a great team at Radio across the country, all of our broadcasters doing a fantastic job.”

On the Ace Radio deal, Sneesby is pleased that it allows the company’s radio team to concentrate on news and talk. The deal with Ace “fits very well alongside the broader set of media assets that we have… The arrangements with Ace Radio are all part of that strategy to focus on talk radio, but also to focus on the financial strength of that business to ensure that we’ve got a great proposition for our audiences and for our advertisers long into the future.”



See related reports:

‘Mission Accomplished.’ Nine Radio’s Tom Malone

Nine Entertainment half yearly revenue is $1.3b



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