HT&E revenue climbs 5% following Adshel sale and consolidation of Conversant Media and ARN businesses

Here, There and Everywhere’s revenue has climbed 5% year on year to $271.8m, following the $570m sale of its outdoor business, Adshel, and a restructure of the ARN business.

According to the 2018 statutory revenue figures, which excludes Adshel, HT&E’s businesses – ARN, Gfinity Sports Australia and Emotive – posted $271.8m in revenue, up from 2017’s $259.9m.

HT&E boss Ciaran Davis: “”It has never been a better time to invest in audio.”

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) from continuing operations was up 2% to $72.7m for calendar year 2018, and net profit after tax grew from $38.4m to $43m. Costs also climbed by $4.8m for the year to $207.9m, which has been attributed to investment in marketing and promotions for the radio business.

Revenue from radio business ARN, which includes the Kiis and Pure Gold networks, grew by 3%, to $235.5m, while EBITDA remained relatively stagnant – at $84.6m. Costs climbed 3% for the year.

ARN’s result follows the full integration of digital publisher, Conversant Media, into the business. HT&E did not break out Conversant Media’s revenue contribution, but HT&E noted the business has suffered declines in the first half of 2018.

The company hopes that by integrating the Conversant Media business into ARN, it will produce better cost savings.

Conversant Media was the publisher of The Roar and Lost at E Minor, and was acquired by APN News & Media (later rebranded as HT&E) in October 2016, as part of what was deemed a commitment to digital investment. At the time, APN News & Media bought the publisher for $11.6m plus earn outs.

In its first year under the HT&E banner, it posted $4.2m in revenue, but EBITDA was only $300,000.

Today, HT&E said The Roar would operate as a dedicated content vertical within the ARN team, seeking to deliver sports content across audio, broadcaster, social, digital platforms and new commercial opportunities.

No mention was made of Conversant Media’s other brands. It comes a month after HT&E signalled the integration of the brands, appointing digital content directors across the publishing and radio networks.

In the last year, Conversant Media founders Zac Zavos and Zolton Zavos both departed Conversant media, as did chief operating officer, Sorrel Osborne. Zavos, Zavos and Osborne have not been replaced.

At the end of 2018, HT&E also announced the departure of ARN CEO Rob Atkinson, as part of a streamlining of leadership across HT&E. The restructure also resulted in the departures of chief commercial officer, Emma-Jane Owens, ARN’s commercial director for Sydney and Brisbane, Mason Rook, chief revenue officer, Tony Kendall, and HT&E’s partnerships director, Greg Tremain.

The increase in revenue for ARN also comes the the same year as major changes for the Pure Gold and Kiis networks. In 2018, Kiis FM Melbourne launched a new breakfast show, with Polly ‘PJ’ Harding and Jase Hawkins, and a national drive show, with Will McMahon and Woody Whitelaw.

On Gold FM in Melbourne, ARN recruited UK star Christian O’Connell for breakfast. ARN said key on-air talent had been locked in for at least the next two years.


HT&E 2018 results

HT&E’s digital investments, including esports business Gfinity Australia, now make up $2.7m of revenue, and EBITDA of $0.6m.

Gfinity Australia’s revenue was more than $1.6m, but due to start-up and opearting costs, the business had an EBITDA loss of $4.4m in 2018. Emotive’s performance was consistent, according to HT&E, with earnings up 5.7%.

Meanwhile, the sale of Adshel to Ooh Media for $570m was used to repay debt. Prior to the completed sale on September 28, Adshel posted revenue of $153.3m.

HT&E chairman, Hamish McLennan, said the year was “truly transformational”.

“The Company’s financial performance was in line with expectations with a strong first half in radio offset by a weaker advertising market in the last four months of the year,” McLennan said.

“Senior management is dedicated to operational excellence across our radio operations and making sure we have the right people and structures in place is of paramount importance. As part of this approach corporate cost reduction and simplification of the Company is an important focus of the Board.”

HT&E CEO and managing director, Ciaran Davis, said the business had put plans in place to drive more value to shareholders.

“It has never been a better time to invest in audio and 2019 will see HT&E focus on ARN’s broadcast, digital, social and streaming suite of assets with a clear vision to create the future of audio entertainment,” Davis said.

Davis’ focus for 2019 is driving performance in its main asset, ARN, further simplifying the organisational structure, reducing corporate costs and resolving the ATO dispute. A deposit of $50.7m was paid to the ATO in 2018.

At close of business yesterday, HT&E’s market capitalisation was $486.95m.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.