Seven West Media profits slump on weak advertising market

Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media has reported a sharp decline in profits as the company grapples with a struggling advertising market.

The media conglomerate, which owns the Seven Network and The West Australian, posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $124 million in the half year ending December 31, compared to $205 million the year prior.

Outgoing Seven chief executive James Warburton said weak advertising markets weighed on the company.
Outgoing Seven chief executive James Warburton said weak advertising markets weighed on the company.Credit: James Alcock

Net profit after tax fell 53 per cent to $54 million. Revenue across the group was $775 million, down 5 per cent.

Outgoing chief executive and managing director James Warburton said the company’s performance reflects “the weakness in advertising markets, particularly as the second quarter progressed”.

“We continue to believe in the power of television and firmly believe that the total TV industry is set to regain market share. Total TV is now growing, and Seven is leading that growth,” he said.

Warburton fronted an investor call on Tuesday morning alongside chief financial officer and incoming managing director and CEO, Jeff Howard.

Howard said Warburton, who will depart in the coming months, was leaving Seven a “fundamentally better” business than when he returned in 2019.

Warburton said during the first half of the fiscal year the company continued disciplined execution of its strategy with growth in audiences and revenue share, tight management of costs and continued future investment.

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While both executives were confident that the advertising market would rebound, Howard warned further cost-cutting exercises were not out of the question.

“While we are delighted with the audience and share outcomes being delivered, we will act decisively to reduce further costs in the event of a protracted soft market,” he said.

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Source: Thanks smh.com