MediaWorks trims loss as company looks to the future

MediaWorks trims loss as company looks to the future

Radio continues to be the star performer for Mediaworks, but its television and digital platforms are gaining traction. 

MediaWorks announced its financial results for the 2017 year on Wednesday, and it was an improvement on the previous year.

Chief executive Michael Anderson and group financial controller Barry Sadlier once again hosted one-on-one sessions with the media, outlining the performance.

It is fair to say it was a more comfortable process than last year, when Mr Anderson stated he didn't want to be reporting a loss - $14.6 million - like that again. And he didn't have to.

While there was still a loss, at $5.6 million it is considerably more palatable.

The radio arm's revenue rose by $4 million to $159.5 million, TV's revenue remained flat at $129.3 million, and the digital platforms reversed the loss of 2016 and saw revenue climb from $11.1 million to $11.6 million.

The key EBITDA - earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - rose from $18.6 million to $21.5 million.

Mr Anderson said they had accepted the 2016 result, put a line under it and focused in the future.

"In 2017, we tried to address every stakeholder in the business. We focused TV, we resourced radio, and we started the dialogue with our customers about what they needed," he explained.

"We started to align all those aspects and that created momentum."

The 2017 strategy with radio - which incorporates The Edge, More FM and The Breeze - was very much to continue its growth both in revenue and audience share. In May this year, MediaWorks recorded its highest ever audience across radio, a result Mr Anderson said endorsed the stategy. 

While TV revenue remained flat, programming and production costs fell by almost $5 million to $98 million. This was down to refocusing how money  was spent, instead of just straight cost-cutting.

Mr Anderson said the strategy was to focus on the key 25-54 year-old demographic at prime time, with shows such as Married at First Sight and this year Dancing With The Stars.

"Shifting money to where it made a difference is why we saw a ratings performance rise against a drop in costs," Anderson said.

"We didn't stop investing - we just invested in better areas, with more local content."

For the first time in three years there was an improvement in the TV results, with EBITDA rising 26 percent.

Mr Anderson said the strategy of bringing TV into profit is on course.

"The overarching feeling for us this year is we needed to demonstrate we could get momentum after last year," he said.

"This result has given us a lot of faith what we are doing works.

"There are still challenges remaining, but with this sort of movement and what we are achieving in 2018, we are on the right path."

Mr Sadlier said 2017 was a great result and the result of having a very clear strategy in place