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Seven West Boosts Profits, Won’t Commit To Subscription Model

The return of television advertising and the rise of BVOD spend has helped Seven West Media boost its profits for the first half of the financial year.

Although it is focusing heavily on its 7plus digital streaming platform, the company has no plans at the moment to launch a subscription streaming service, despite being the only free-to-air network not to have one.

“It’s not about any opportunity, rather, it’s about the right opportunity, and we continue to be patient to get the right result,” Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton said.

Seven West Media’s net profit rose 3 per cent to $120.5 million for the last half of 2021, with group revenues up 27 per cent to $819.5 million.

Underlying net profit after tax was up 48 per cent from the same period in 2020 to $128.7 million, while EBITDA rose 31 per cent to $215.3m.

 

Warburton says the strong results “reflects the successful execution of our strategy over the past 30 months.”

This includes the recent $132 million purchase of regional broadcaster Prime Media, as well as “a television network that has returned to the #1 position in a robust advertising market; a fast-growing digital business that now makes up 35% of earnings; a turnaround at WAN; and a team focused on growth.”

Warburton lists among the broadcaster’s success stories the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, The Voice, and the AFL Grand Final. Over 11 million users are now registered on 7plus, a figure Warburton is seeing grow at the moment with the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“Seven returned to the #1 position in ratings leadership for the fiscal half and the 2021 calendar year, which was a significant achievement. The TV advertising market was very strong throughout the year.

“For the six months to 31 December, the markets were up 13 per cent in metropolitan, 7.2 per cent in regional and 58 per cent in BVOD. [We] outperformed the market growth in every segment. In the metropolitan market, our 40.3 per cent share was in line with our forecast,” Warburton explains.

Seven Digital grew 144 per cent this half to $76 million.

“The transformation of the digital side of our business has been dramatic, with a step change in the sophistication of our platforms, our data and how we monetise these audiences. This half also marked the first contribution from the digital platforms payments for our news content,” Warburton said.

Seven West Media shares were down 5.8 per cent as of midday.



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