An improving ad market and subscription service Stan has seen Nine post a net profit of $182 million in the six months to December.
Nine – which owns TV assets, The Age, SMH and AFR and radio assets – posted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $355 million, up 42 per cent on the same period last year.
Stan drove much of the growth of the business, with revenue up 28 per cent to $149.1 million for the half, and EBITDA of $36.5 million.
Nine’s broadcast division, which comprises the Nine Network, 9Now and Nine Radio, reported EBITDA of $207.4 million for the fiscal half.
Nine’s publishing division(The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review), nine.com.au, Pedestrian Group and Drive, posted a decline in revenue of nine per cent to $263.4 million, with EBITDA up 27 per cent to $68.1 million.
Net profit after tax and minority interests was $178 million, up 69 per cent.
However, there was a two per cent drop in overall revenues to $1.16 billion.
Nine will pay an interim dividend of 5c a share, flat from 12 months ago.
The company has also said it would repay JobKeeper allowances it received totalling $2 million.
Commenting on the results, Nine CEO Hugh Marks said the company had been buoyed by a significant uptick in ad spends in the last quarter of 2020.
“The lessons we have learned from COVID are clear. Our focus on strict cost efficiency at our traditional media assets delivered the profitability we were targeting. And continued investment in our digital businesses is delivering strong digital profit growth. Together, enabling us to continue to migrate the business to a more flexible, digital-base.
“Moreover, the accelerated growth in businesses like Stan and 9Now, as well as our digital publishing mastheads, has enabled us to bring forward our longer term plans. And importantly has enhanced our competitive position across all segments. This will enable us to continue to invest in our audiences to ensure continued growth into the future,” he said.
Marks announced his resignation back in November but said he would remain until his successor was found.
“I’ve had a great five years at Nine, and am confident that I am handing over the reins at the perfect time – of a business which is clearly firing on all cylinders, but that has plenty of scope to accelerate its profitability in the coming few years,” Marks said.
Photo credit: Yianni Aspradakis.
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