Nine Entertainment boss Hugh Marks has predicted a rosy future for his network despite the well-documented problems at rival networks Seven and, in particular, the Ten Network.
Speaking at the Macquarie Conference in Sydney yesterday, Marks predicted ad revenues and audience numbers would improve in the second-half of 2017. Marks buoyed by the recent successes of Married at First Sight and The Voice.
Marks again reiterated that 2016 had been a tough year for Nine as the Olympics had delivered big ad dollars to rival Seven and the pool subsequently dried up once the Games had ended.
He told the audience that Ten’s ongoing financial woes would prove a double-edged sword – delivering ad dollars to his network, however, ultimately it could weaken the ad market overall.
Marks also used the speech to reaffirm Nine’s commitment to broadcasting the cricket. In late April, financial analyst firm UBS urged Nine to drop its loss-making cricket broadcast, rumoured to be around $40 million per year.
However, Marks agreed that Test cricket was less dependable than the likes of AFL and NRL due to things like weather and the competitiveness of some international teams.
“There are sports that are integral to your schedule, in particular AFL and NRL; they play 30 weeks of the year plus, they’re the same teams, the same competition, they play rain, hail or shine,” he said, his comments reported on The Australian Financial Review.
Marks also had a veiled dig at Ten who had publicly announced it was eyeing the rights to the cricket, too.
“Can we afford to do cricket? Of course we can afford to do cricket, more so than our competitors,” he said.
“We still want to be part of cricket, it’s still part of Channel Nine, it still brings us advertiser relationships, it’s important to our news and current affairs franchises. It’s important to the network.
“But we’re already in a position where we’re stretched to the limit in what we can afford to pay for those rights. When you think about cricket as well, it has a couple of downsides: one is the weather; two is we don’t control the schedule at all – the schedule is different every year; three, we don’t know how the Australian team’s going to go, we don’t know who we’re competing against,” Marks said.