Seven West Media is attempting to save media jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic with reports the company has applied for the government’s JobKeeper scheme.
As reported on the SMH, the struggling media company asked staff on Wednesday to provide a declaration confirming their employment status by Friday the 24 April.
For businesses to be eligible for JobKeeper, businesses with an annual turnover of more than $1 billion must show a decline of 50 per cent or more, while businesses under that threshold must hose a 30 per cent drop in revenue.
The company wrote in an email to staff: “If you earn more than $1500 before tax per fortnight you will continue to receive your current salary with the scheme helping to subsidise this payment,” the company wrote in the email to staff.
“If we succeed in our application, the scheme will make a significant contribution to the company’s wages and salaries expense in this challenging environment.”
Staff at Seven were recently asked to work four days a week and take 20 per cent pay cuts until at least the end of the financial year. At the time, Warburton flagged the possibility of applying for the JobKeeper subsidy, if the media company was found to be eligible.
10 has also asked employees to cut hours, encouraging its staff to work nine-day fortnights. B&T reached out to 10 to ask if it has applied for the scheme but did not receive a response at the time of writing.
It is unknown if Nine has asked employees to take pay or hour cuts, yet B&T understands the broadcaster is ineligible for the JobKeeper scheme. Nine declined B&T‘s request for comment.
Seven West Media has been in trouble for some time, with recent reports suggesting it has called in a financial advisory company to help the media company restructure its mounting debt.
The network is currently sitting with $859 million in debt, with its lowest share price ever. From a high of $15 leading up to the GFC in 2007, to the current price of $0.086c.
SWM now only has a market value of $115 million to support its near $1 billion debt.
It follows the company losing the Olympics (for now), losing the AFL and its lowest shares prices ever recorded. And, with its latest deal between Pac Mags and Bauer Media still on the rocks, Seven could use all the help it can get, even if that is taxpayer’s money.
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