Cricket a bright spot as Prime’s revenues continue to slump

Regional TV operator Prime was hit by another fall in advertising sales in the first half of the financial year, with revenues falling 5.9% to 97.9m with EBITDA slumping 9.9% to $21.9m.

Despite the revenue falls, the group returned to profit from its last financial report which included a $51.7m writedown on the value of its television licenses.

Ian Audsley Prime CEO

Prime CEO Ian Audsley noted Prime’s advertising revenues across New South Wales and Victoria declined 5.3%

Prime was also hit by higher affiliate fees to Seven and the initial payment of spectrum licence fees totalling $6.2m under the Federal government’s new licensing regime which saw the group’s net cash flow from operating activities decline 50.8% to $7.8m.

Cricket was a bright spot for Prime with revenue over the summer up $2.1m or 4.7% on the prior period, driven by the Big Bash League and test cricket broadcast.

Chief executive officer, Ian Audsley, said in the ASX announcement: “During the reporting period Prime maintained a market-leading 41.4% total revenue share for the half year. Prime’s advertising revenues in the aggregated markets of New South Wales and Victoria declined 5.3%, which was in line with the market decline of 5.3% for the same period.”

Audsley also noted “the recruitment process to appoint a new chairperson is well under way. In the interim, John Hartigan has graciously agreed to extend his tenure until the new appointment is made”.

The network said it expects 2019 profit to be between $16.0m and $18.0m on the back of higher spending ahead of the Federal election, but warned: “While we expect a short term stimulus, it does not necessarily point to long term revenue growth in regional TV advertising markets.”


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