SCA 'upbeat' about Ten despite TV's 12.9% drop

SCA 'upbeat' about Ten despite TV's 12.9% drop
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Southern Cross Austereo has seen a 6.5% drop in revenue for the financial year, with its underperforming television business blamed for the decline.

Despite this, SCA’s chief financial officer Stephen Kelly told investors this morning that Network Ten has a “very solid and robust strategy”.

Chief executive, Rhys Holleran (pictured), also said at SCA’s financial year results presentation that it is “upbeat and very supportive of what Ten are doing”.

“Moreover, we believe we will see some audience improvement,” Holleran added, pointing to the network’s Big Bash League and the 2014 Winter Olympics.

He said the network’s coming sports broadcasts will give SCA the opportunity to “make a few bucks”: “We will certainly be turning over every rock to make sure that that happens.”

Revenue for SCA was down 6.5% to $642.7m, with the company’s regional TV business down 12.9% to $214.4m. Regional radio was up 0.4% to $168.3m.

The drop in TV was attributed to a ratings decline for Ten.

National advertising revenue has dropped year on year, from $356.8m in 2012 financial year to $317.2m.

Metro radio revenue fell from $177.3m to 164.8m, regional radio slipped from $45.5m to $43.7 and TV dropped from $134m to $108.7m.

The graph below shows the commercial impact that the now infamous royal prank call scandal and the Today Network’s Kyle Sandilands on-air tirade against a female journalist had on the company.  

SCA’s CFO Kelly said the “recovery is underway”, and pointed to the new drive program with Hamish & Andy’s Happy Hour which he said should lift future surveys.

The company is still to meet the media watchdog over its investigation into the royal prank. SCA said in its presentation today that it is “very confident” in its position.

SCA posted a 1.1% rise in net profit after tax to $96m. EBITDA dropped 6.6% to $210.9m.

Talking about the coming months, Holleran said he expects metropolitan radio’s performance to remain consistent. He pointed to developments in the company’s digital radio offering and SCA will continue to build fans, “not just listeners and viewers”.

“We hope to see when the dust settles from the federal election some sensible changes to the regulatory environment and in particular the reach rule,” Holleran said.

“We are on record as thinking that the rules are pretty much out of date and we look forward to seeing them actually finally removed and free to air TV moving into the 21st century in line with all the other platforms, in terms of regulation.”

He said quarter one looks “ok” with increased government advertising spend around the federal election.

“On that issue then we are reluctant to give much comment beyond it in terms of guidance. Good first quarter, very little visibility beyond that.”

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