Nine Entertainment has reported a very positive first half of the 2018 financial year, with significant growth in its overall profit and revenue.
The company posted a net profit after tax of $116 million in the six months to 31 December 2017 – up 55 per cent on the previous corresponding period – while revenue rose nine per cent to $720 million.
Nine’s expenses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased by 51 per cent in the first half of FY18 to $181 million.
The group’s positive results were driven partly by favourable specific items of $58 million after tax, which was primarily the profit on the sale of Nine’s Willoughby site.
The Nine Network saw revenue rise 10 per cent to $636.2 million, while Nine Digital experienced a 6.5 per cent lift in revenue to $83.4 million.
Nine’s streaming joint venture with Fairfax, Stan, recorded a seasonally strong period for sign-ups, with active subscribers now around 930,000.
Nine CEO Hugh Marks (pictured above) said the first half of FY18 was a strong one for the company across all of its divisions.
“Positive free-to-air TV ratings momentum, combined with our focus on the 25 to 54 year demographics, is translating to improving revenue share,” he said.
“In digital, 9Now is experiencing strong revenue growth and our digital publishing business has strong growth in premium revenues in line with our future strategy.
“Finally, Stan is now approaching break-even and looking to further consolidate on its leading local position in this market.
Marks said Nine’s strong cash flow and relatively ungeared balance sheet gives the company the confidence to continue to prudently invest in its future across the businesses.
“Nine’s strengths lie in premium content and therein is the opportunity – to harness the growth in viewing across different platforms and distribution models, and optimise the total return on our content spend,” he said.
“We will continue to invest in our future. There is much work still to do, but as can be seen from these results, the benefit to our shareholders is becoming increasingly clear.”