Austereo CEO, Peter Harvie spoke to AMT this week about the company’s performance in the past six months and the outlook for the commercial radio industry for this year. He describes himself as “bullish” about the whole radio industry.
According to Harvie the month leading to Christmas was “slow at first but turned out well”, improving very strongly around Christmas. Most bookings were for retail products and sales. January has been a “sloppy” month so far with Media Buyers on holidays most of the month and very few ad bookings being made in any market.
All Austereo stations performed well July-December 1998, especially the newly acquired Perth stations which Peter Harvie said were “fantastic” and making profits well in excess of their business plan. He also mentioned the recently acquired Database Marketing company as also performing well above expectations.
Austereo’s operations in Asia are performing at a 25% profit margin despite the downturn in the region. It is possible Austereo will take advantage of the Asian downturn to acquire more broadcast companies in the region cheaply. He also confirmed recent remarks by Brad March that Austereo is interested in acquiring the maximum allowable share in any British radio companies that may become available.
Commenting on the departure of Martin & Molloy from radio Peter Harvie described them as “bigger than radio” and praised them for the way they “got people talking about radio again.” He told the story of a friend of his who was laughing so hard at Martin & Molloy that he committed a traffic offence and was stopped by the police, but let off because the police were also laughing about the program. He puts the strength of Austereo’s business down to a dual focus on the creative and the sales sides of radio.