Southern Cross Austereo have reported a full year revenue of $540.2 million or 18.2% lower than the prior year and an EBITDA of $93.0 million that was 36.9% below the comparable amount in the prior year.
Metro radio revenue was down 25.3%, while regional radio performed somewhat better, although advertising revenues were down by 13.1% on 2019.
In contrast, revenues from digital audio streaming and podcasting doubled to $7.1 million.
In his address to shareholders, CEO, Grant Blackley, said that while COVID-19 had a severe impact on business since March this year, key statistics from September this year illustrate the growth in consumption of SCA’s digital audio products:
- SCA’s audiences listened to 10.5 million hours of digital audio in September, a year-on-year increase of 31%
- live streaming of Hit and Triple M radio shows increased by 58% to 1.5 million unique listeners, with 9.1 million active live streams – the highest ever
- listening on smart speakers grew by 62% year-on-year to 2.3 million hours.
Blackley said, “As a commercial audio business, we’re buoyed by these positive trends in consumption of our products and focused on converting them to strong commercial outcomes as the recovery from COVID-19 progresses. In the year ahead, this will include growing our digital audio ecosystem with premium content, platforms and products attractive to our listeners and advertisers.
“We expanded our radio portfolio to 99 stations during the year by acquiring 10 new radio stations in Western Australia and launching SoundCloud Radio. In fact, we temporarily have 100 stations, including Little Fox, a DAB+ pop-up children’s station on-air during the strict COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne.
“In July, we unveiled a new look Hit Network, bringing back the much loved heritage brands, SAFM in Adelaide and B105 in Brisbane, and introducing a new “Get that feeling” tagline and playlist to target a female-skewed audience aged 30-54. In August, we introduced state-wide Breakfast shows to our 40 Hit stations in regional markets, complemented by locally hosted morning or afternoon shows and local news and weather services.”
He said that the highest priority in the radio network for the coming year is a new and successful breakfast program on 2Day FM, and that an announcement on the program will be made in coming weeks.
PodcastOne Australia has continued to grow with more than 90 original Australian titles and a growth in revenue of 96% to $4.6M in the 2020 financial year. Titles such as Hamish & Andy and The Howie Games are consistently ranked among the top Australian original podcasts in the official Australian Podcast Ranker.
Radio livestreaming advertising revenue grew by 112% in the 2020 financial year and there are now over 630,000 signed-in users for their radio station apps.
As announced to the ASX on 8 October, SCA is eligible for JobKeeper support through to 3 January 2021 and expect to receive approximately $12 million in JobKeeper payments to offset employee costs from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, however, with advertising bookings strengthening, SCA do not expect to be eligible for JobKeeper support beyond that date.