Nine reports $203m loss but looks to improved ratings

Nine Entertainment Co. has reported a $203.4 million annual loss for 2016-17 due to writedowns of its assets, but it lifted in its underlying profit to $123.6 million.

Revenue was $1.23 billion, down from $1.28 billion the previous year.

The result included an $86 million provision to “exit the life of series obligations on a list of US dramas and comedies with Warner Bros.”

While TV revenue was down 4.4% attributed to Olympics and a flat ad market, but excluding the Olympic weeks, Nine attracted a commercial network share of 37.1% of the 25-54 demographic and cited a Number 1 share in all of the key buying demographics for the financial year.

CEO Hugh Marks said Nine had improved its ratings this calendar year.

“The strategic work we did over the past 18 months to reshape our content offering has delivered outstanding results that will benefit our entire business in the mid-term,”  he said.

“Our leadership position in key advertising demographics is continuing to strengthen as we progress through the calendar year. We are consistently growing advertising revenue share in FTA television, On Demand Television and Digital Publishing.

“At the same time, our group-wide focus on costs continues to reap rewards. Overall and Free To Air costs were down a further 1% and 2% respectively (excluding the impact of the long-awaited licence fee relief). Including licence fee relief, our group wide costs were down 5%.

“With a strengthening balance sheet, and significant operational momentum and leverage, Nine enters the new financial year in a much stronger position. Our focus on creativity and content has never been clearer.

“The options available for us to monetize our content have never been more diverse. The media world of the future is video-based and we are right at the forefront of it in Australia.”

Highlights for the period include:
– Significant ratings improvement – 25-54s Network share of 37.1%
– Improving revenue share as the year progressed
– Continuing cost discipline across each division, with group-wide costs down 1% and Free To Air (FTA) costs down 2% (6% incl licence fees)
– Once-off licence fee relief ahead of Media Reform legislation
– Over 4 million registered users of 9Now and approaching 800,000 active subs at Stan
– 114% growth in long form streams resulting in 40% growth in revenue at 9Now
– 5.0 cent fully franked final dividend, for full year total of 9.5 cents

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