Austereo AGM today

The fourth annual general meeting of
Austereo Group Limited will be held at 11.30 today in at Melbourne.

The venue is Thornbury Room, Stamford Plaza, Level 1, 111 Little Collins Street.

Apart from considering the Directors’ Report and Financial Statements to 30 June, the AGM will elect directors, Peter Harvie and Robert Kirby, who retire from office by rotation (in accordance with the Constitution) and offer themselves for re-election. Peter Foo, after being appointed to fill a casual vacancy, retires from office but also offers himself for election.

Austereo chiefs, Michael Anderson and Peter Harvie, say the group is pleased to report that Austereo maintained its position as the most successful capital city radio group throughout the year.

“The company maintained its market dominance by responding strongly and creatively to the challenges of an increasingly complex market and a
rapidly changing radio environment.

“The enormous contribution from our committed and talented team of 800, on and off air, made our success possible
through their immense focus and creativity.

“Their work, in Australia and in our offshore ventures, has ensured the
group maintains its pre-eminent position as one of the world’s great commercial radio operations.

“It is a matter of pride that Austereo enjoys the talents of some of Australia’s greatest media personalities, forging the unique
one on one relationship between our high profile brand stations and a significant proportion of the nation’s population. This focus on great talent also contributes to the ongoing strength and vibrancy of the entire radio industry.

“It is often said that the standard of Australia’s radio industry is among the world’s highest, placing the future of the industry in good stead.
In the final audience survey of the financial year, Austereo achieved 42% of the under 40 audience; 30.6% of the 25-54 segment, and 38.5% of the prime 25-39 demographic.

“Austereo also enjoys a significant audience in older demographics. Changing social trends mean that more mature audiences are remaining committed to what have traditionally been formats for younger audiences. People are evidently thinking and acting younger for longer, a trend with considerable relevance for the
future of Austereo, and the radio industry in general.

“While Austereo’s audience share was influenced by increased competition, the group consolidated well, demonstrating its underlying strength with only marginal concessions in the key audience demographics, between the final surveys of the 2003 and 2004 financial years.

“The sales results benefited from a range of strategies, coupled with the overall ratings’ performance. The radio industry advertising recovery continued, with a capital city growth of 11.7% for the year. The Group exceeded sales’ budgets, lifting sales’ revenue ahead of the previous year to $240.4 million.

“The marginal decline in our share of advertising revenue in metropolitan markets was controlled by strong performances and cross platform initiatives. The market share for the year continued to remain in excess of 40% – a reasonable outcome, given the exceptional market conditions.

“The EBIT result of $71.2 million declined 5.6%, again reflecting the competitive environment. However, the operating EBITDA margin of 32% underpins Austereo’s position as one of the world’s best performing radio operators.

“A final dividend of 3.8 cents fully franked has been declared, along with an interim dividend of 3.4 cents, paid in March 2004.

“In August 2003, Michael Anderson was appointed CEO after
14 years’ management experience with the company. Since his appointment, he has focused on building stronger station brands and restructuring the organisation to achieve greater
efficiencies by making the company more adaptable to changing radio market conditions.

“The management team has focused on maintaining market leadership and developing new strategic directions. The success in navigating the changing environment has been achieved by a simplified management structure, an intensified focus on marketing, and the development of new program line ups.

“New programs generally take time to achieve critical mass, but have the strategic advantage of refreshed programming energy for long term benefits. This better positions Austereo for the challenges of new licences in the coming year.

“During the year, the group also focused on the regeneration of the iconic Triple M Network. Triple M is a great radio brand and was destined for a stronger market position.

“After a major creative overhaul, Triple M has delivered significant early results, with the promise of even greater future strengths. In
Sydney’s final audience survey, the station improved over the previous year’s survey, jumping from seventh place to fourth (all stations), and was also the second highest rating
FM station. In Melbourne, Triple M rose from fifth to second (all stations), and also achieved the number one FM position.

“This re-growth was achieved through exciting new programs, attracting a new and broader audience. Following this successful operation, Austereo will also focus on the Today Network stations, each of which are long standing successful brands in their respective cities.

“Austereo’s joint venture radio operations in Canberra and Newcastle enjoyed a successful year, with record sales’ results in both markets, and the achievement of top audience positions.

“The year ahead will see the introduction of four new capital city
licences, but we are confident that Austereo will continue to adapt to the environment. We have developed new strategies, systems and programming, and employ the best team in the business. We face the year with determination and confidence.”