Seven Uses AGM To Tell Shareholders It’s Won The 2021 TV Ratings

Seven Uses AGM To Tell Shareholders It’s Won The 2021 TV Ratings
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Seven West Media Group has made some impressive statements in its annual general meeting, particularly highlighting TV.

Kerry Stokes, Seven West Media Group’s executive chairman said in a statement that, despite the “challenging conditions” of the last year, “Seven regained our dominance of the free-to-air market, reached 10 million viewers of our streamed content on 7Plus and lifted readership numbers in our newspapers”.

He specifically pointed to the success of Seven’s sporting line-up, including the Tokyo Olympics, AFL and cricket.

“The combination of our premium sports programming with our continuing dominance of news and current affairs, as well as a refreshed programming schedule, were keys to our success,” Stokes said.

“While we have been focused on navigating our way through the pandemic, we have also been executing our long-term strategy to focus on producing first-class content across all of our digital assets.”

This has resulted in a net profit after tax of $318 million, and a revenue of $1.27 billion.

Earlier this year, Stokes announced that he would be stepping down as executive chairman of the Seven Group Holdings board after the November meeting, to be replaced by Terry Davis. Stokes will remain as chairman of Seven West Media group and  Australian Capital Equity Group.

According to Stokes, Seven’s news programs and newspapers have attracted “record audiences and readers” this year, as well as providing “vital information channels for Australians of all ages during the pandemic.” He also said that advertising expenditure has grown.

“We will continue to balance our costs with investments – like the Prime acquisition – to stay ahead of the game, and this delicate equation is at the top of your directors’ priorities,” he said.

Stokes also spoke about the role of the Federal Government in promoting local media companies.

“The last year has also been marked by the fact that the Federal Government finally acted to partly arrest the damage caused by foreign multi-nationals in the Australian media sector,” he said.

“Key legislative changes have allowed local companies like Seven to generate substantial income from our content and build relationships with the digital platforms, so that they pay fairly for our content which generates value for them.”

“But more needs to be done ensure the ongoing universal free access to Australian news, sport and entertainment,” he continued.

He then called on the Government to commit to regulation of prominence of Free-To-Air services “on all types of televisions, and the extension of the anti-siphoning list to include online streaming services”.

James Warburton, Seven’s managing director and CEO put it simply: “Seven is back to its winning ways.”

According to Warburton, “any way you cut it – calendar year or survey year, with or without the Tokyo Olympics – we are back at number one in television.”

He pointed to Seven’s lead in total people across calendar and survey year, and said that Seven is the only network with substantial share growth across every demographic, and the only network with increased audience shares in key demographics for the calendar year.

“Why does being number one in television matter?” he asked.

“Clearly it means that more people are tuning into Seven than any other network and that we have the shows people want to watch and talk about. It also creates a strong perception of success and leadership among advertisers, media buyers, our staff, and other key stakeholders.”

“Every additional audience share point we gain has a direct and tangible impact on our revenue and on our bottom line.”

Warburton then went on to describe Seven as “unashamedly a content company”, citing both linear and digital television. Most significantly, he said that across FY21, Seven had been number one in 31 ratings weeks, in comparison to FY20, which was Seven take the number one spot 18 times.

“So far in calendar year 2021, we have been #1 in 26 weeks and we will end the rating year as the #1 network.”

“We will win the TV ratings survey year, with or without the Tokyo Olympics, in total people. That will represent our first total people win since 2018.”

Finally, Warburton pointed to the media group’s diversity commitments, including a gender balance where 51 per cent of management roles are held by women, and women represent 52 per cent  of total staff.

Seven has also joined The Everyone Project, an initiative to improve on-screen diversity by the Screen Diversity and Inclusion Network, and is working on a Reconciliation Action Plan which will include Indigenous scholarships and programs at Seven.

“Our company is in much better shape than it was two years ago and we are not going to stop now,” Warburton concluded.

“We will continue to work harder and smarter to make Seven West Media even stronger and more successful – and to grow its value for all our stakeholders.”

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