Nine’s half year results show small drop in radio revenue, big leap in digital audio

It’s that time of year when radio and television networks release half and whole year results showing the state of play in the industries. Nine’s half year results show a small (2%) decrease of revenue on the prior period across their television, digital, subscription, publishing and audio arms. Perhaps not surprisingly, based on other market trends, while radio revenue was also down slightly, digital audio revenue grew.

Nine’s interests include free to air stations, BVOD 9Now and subscription based Stan, mastheads including the AFR, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, online property marketplace Domain and the nine website and the broadcasting division of 2GB, 3AW, 6PR and 4BC. Digital, Subscription and Licensing now makes up nearly half (48%) of Nine’s revenue.

Net profit for Nine was $114 million with net debt increasing $15.2 million in the 6 months to 31 December 2023. Broadcast revenue (which includes television and radio) decreased 9% to $654.6 million but digital revenue experienced the biggest growth, up 45% in Audio from $2 to $2.9 million, which is still a small piece of the Nine pie, but of growing importance.

Mike Sneesby, Chief Executive Officer of Nine, was happy overall with the results and used them to send a message to the Albanese Government about the News Media Bargaining Code:

“We have also made good progress in reducing underlying costs, and I commend all of our people for their focus on efficiencies and willingness to embrace change. Of course, we will continue to invest in areas of growth and in the content, data and technology that clearly generates returns and underpins our competitive position.

In 2024, we will bring the world’s biggest sporting events to all of Australia in a way that has never been seen before, with the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will also deliver Australia’s best content, reaching around 20 million Australians each month, across Television, Publishing, Audio and Marketplaces.“

Within Publishing, the 9% growth in digital subscription and licensing revenue at our metro mastheads, inclusive of price increases, more than offset the decline in print subscription revenue.

We acknowledge the Government’s recent comments confirming its support for the essence of the News Media Bargaining Code and its intent to enforce the Code, including by designation of digital platforms if required. Notwithstanding these comments, the media landscape has evolved significantly since the Code was drafted and requires the Government’s urgent attention to ensure Australian media companies are being fairly compensated for the ways in which global digital platforms are deriving value from our content. For example, Nine’s premium video content continues to drive huge audiences on social media platforms, while we are also witnessing the rapid growth in generative-AI services which utilise our public interest journalism to build and train their models.”

Peter Costello, Chairman of Nine Entertainment Co. (Nine) said:

“I am very pleased with the way the Company responded to the broader economic challenges in the second half of calendar 2023. We have enhanced our competitive position. We are positioned well for the future. The breadth of our different businesses has proven its worth in these conditions.”

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