Australia’s Seven TV network was the major winner in the Olympic Games, its coverage reaching an audience of 20.2 million, the company says.
In its annual results presentation this morning, Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton said digital consumption – exceeding expectations at 4.74 billion minutes streamed – made it the country’s largest-ever digital event. A benefit was the “huge adoption” of catch-up app 7plus, which now boasts 9.2 million registered users, backed by record Olympics ad revenue leading to a $21 million reversal of last year’s “onerous” provision.
Warburton told analysts that the broadcast TV ad market also “rebounded strongly”, putting on more than a quarter in the second half, and 11.5 per cent for the year. The 7plus platform had grown revenue by 78 per cent, while the BVOD ad market increased 55 per cent.
Other contributors to the turnaround year were a “landmark” deal with Google and Facebook for news content, and savings of $200 million in operating cost and cash savings.
Seven's digital EBITDA grew 131 per cent to $60.5 million.
Warburton said the balance sheet improvement paved the way for “either capital management options, once debt facilities refinanced, or consolidation opportunities”.
Warburton said the result reflected “material progress” of the changes made over the past two years. “Since 2019, we have increased EBIT and grown our digital business to over 25 per cent of earnings. We have a new entertainment schedule that is increasing ratings across all key demographics.
“We were the only network to grow commercial audience share across the key demographics in the financial year, which has set us up strongly to monetise this in FY22. At the same time, we have slashed our net debt position by 57 per cent since FY19, giving us a balance sheet to pursue future growth opportunities.”
In the west and in print, West Australian Newspapers has grown its audience across print readership and digital, “increasing circulation and subscription revenue while also transforming the cost base,” he said.
He also reported the “reignition” of the Seven West Ventures strategy with new investments and an increase in portfolio value by 11 per cent to $56 million.