Australian broadcast and publishing company Nine has released its H1 FY21 results for the six months to December 2020. For the half, Nine reported Revenue of AUD$1.2b and a Net Profit of $182m, which included a post-tax Specific Item expense of $5m.
Group EBITDA of $355m equated to growth of 42% on H1 FY20 (like-basis), in-line with earlier guidance of `more than 40%’ growth, with operating conditions gaining positive momentum across the half. Net Profit After Tax and Minority Interests was $178m, up 69% on the previous corresponding period.
Key takeaways include:
- Continued audience strength across all key platforms
- Marked improvement in ad markets through Q2, with strong growth in BVOD and FTA
- Continued growth from subscription businesses with $23m EBITDA improvement at Stan; and 26% growth in digital subscription and licensing revenue from Publishing
- Group-wide costs down 13%, or $124m
- 53% growth in digital EBITDA to 41% of Group EBITDA
- Net Debt (wholly owned) of ~ $150m, equating to leverage of ~0.4X
- Commitment to return Nine’s JobKeeper allowance (relating to wholly-owned businesses) to the Federal Government
Outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Nine, Hugh Marks, said, “Our business has performed incredibly well through this period of heightened volatility, and has come out the other side in a very strong operating position. We acted swiftly when circumstances changed, whilst continuing to embrace opportunity and remain true to our vision – of building Australia’s leading cross-platform media business. In these latest six months, the combined contribution from Stan and 9Now, and the digital components of Domain and Publishing grew by 53% to more than $140m, and, notwithstanding the strong recovery in earnings from our traditional markets, equated to 41% of our total EBITDA.
“From an advertising perspective, this latest half year was a tale of two quarters. The advertising market clearly turned in late September, earlier and more sharply than we had anticipated, and this was led by Television, both Free To Air and BVOD. The brand-building strength of these segments underpinned clear growth in market share overall for the Television industry, that has continued into the first quarter of 2021. Nine’s consistently strong audience performance, across all of our platforms, means we are well positioned to benefit from this improvement in the ad cycle.
“The lessons we have learned from COVID are clear. Our focus on strict cost efficiency at our traditional media assets delivered the profitability we were targeting. And continued investment in our digital businesses is delivering strong digital profit growth. Together, enabling us to continue to migrate the business to a more flexible, digital-base.
“Moreover, the accelerated growth in businesses like Stan and 9Now, as well as our digital publishing mastheads, has enabled us to bring forward our longer term plans. And importantly has enhanced our competitive position across all segments. This will enable us to continue to invest in our audiences to ensure continued growth into the future.
“I’ve had a great five years at Nine, and am confident that I am handing over the reins at the perfect time – of a business which is clearly firing on all cylinders, but that has plenty of scope to accelerate its profitability in the coming few years.”