Mediaworks' television revenue up, in a stable year

Mediaworks' CEO Michael Anderson says the company has a stable platform to grow from
Mediaworks' CEO Michael Anderson says the company has a stable platform to grow from Photo credit: Newshub

After a flat couple of years, Mediaworks' television arm, which includes Newshub and ThreeNow, saw revenues rise in what the CEO described as a "challenging market".

The broadcaster, whose stable includes TV, radio and digital, announced its 2018 results on Wednesday 

CEO Michael Anderson said that despite the company posting a loss, two years of sustained growth means it is settled now, but there is no room for complacency. 

Mediaworks saw the important EDITDA - earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - rise for a second year to $24.7 million, but sustained an overall loss of $5.5 million. 

Mediaworks' TV revenue rose from $129 million to $133 million, while its digital revenue rose from $11 million to $14 million. 

Revenue from its radio stations, which incorporates The Edge, More FM and The Breeze, fell from $159 million to $153 million. 

Anderson said while the radio stations' rating share remained good throughout 2018, tough market conditions in the third quarter saw revenue take a tumble. 

He was happy with the overall growth though. 

Shows such as Dancing With The Stars helped Mediaworks' TV arm perform strongly.
Shows such as Dancing With The Stars helped Mediaworks' TV arm perform strongly. Photo credit: Newshub

"The market was a tough one last year but we still improved our revenue, and getting that consistent improvement when you look at the state of TV three years ago is good. 

"The market is doing what it does but we have been able to grow our share with that. That's important," Anderson said. 

Eliminating the loss remains a priority, but Anderson is confident the underlying growth Mediaworks has seen will continue and translate to a profit. 

"Hopefully a third year of growth in EDITDA will bring us a lot closer to breaking even and a profit," he says.

At the end of last year Mediaworks announced its intention to merge with Australian-owned outdoor advertising company QMS in New Zealand.

While the revenue from that is not expected to impact until 2020, Anderson says it is one of the many things that should help the company record a profit, and he is confident about the outlook for the next 18 months. 

"We will have continued investment in content. Sales will have absorbed QMS in terms of how we go to market and we will see a different way of going to market." 

The 2018 accounts showed operating costs remained stable, slightly down from the previous year. Stability is a word the CEO uses often to describe the current state of Mediaworks.    

"I think we have achieved what we have with this result without a lot of disruption.  

"When you consider what we have achieved it has been more about settling us down than creating upheaval.

"That is testament to the fact we have the right people, the right strategy, we have the right IP." 

He says the platform will allow Mediaworks to adapt well to the ever-changing media environment.  

"The good thing is we have changed a lot in the past couple of years, but we are about to change some more.

"We have a solid base, sitting on a solid base isn't going to get you anywhere in this climate, especially for media. From that base it is how do we look to continue that improvement."