iSentia emerges as star performer of the ASX as traditional media burns investors

The best performing communications industry company on the ASX in the last financial year was media monitoring company iSentia, while the worst was STW Communications, according to analysis carried out by Mumbrella.

The 2014-2015 financial year ends today, with most ASX investors who focused on media and marketing coming out losers.

How broadcasters fared | Source: Google Finance

How broadcasters Southern Cross, Prime, Nine, Seven and Ten fared | Source: Google Finance

Among traditional TV companies, Seven West Media (SWM) was the worst investment, with its market capitalisation down by 44% for the year to $1.6bn – representing a decline of more than $1.3bn. Seven West Media includes the Seven Network, Pacific Magazines, The West Australian and joint venture Yahoo7.

Meanwhile Nine Entertainment Co (NEC) was down by 29% for the year, finishing the period with a market capitalisation of $1.45bn.

Of the three major TV networks, Ten was the best performer in percentage terms, although it still declined by 23.5% for the year to $500m.

Regional TV company Prime Media Group (PRT) saw its market capitalisation decline over the 12 months by 34% to just over $250m.

Regional TV and radio company Southern Cross Austereo (SXL) fell by 9.7% during the year.

Macquarie Radio Network (MRN) saw its share price rise by 8%, although the merger with Fairfax Radio Network took place during the period, making direct comparisons difficult.

Hos Australia's three major newspaper groups fared | Source: Google Finance

How newspaper groups News Corp, APN and Fairfax fared | Source: Google Finance

Among newspaper owners, News Corp (NWS) finished the year almost level, with a market capitalisation of more than $11bn. However, this looked more favourable because of the weak Australian dollar – on the US NASDAQ exchange where News Corp is also listed, the share value of the company – which includes newspapers in Australia, the US and Australia along with half of Foxtel – fell by 20% for the year.

Meanwhile, Fairfax (FXJ)  – publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – fell by 8% for the year to a market capitalisation of around $2bn.

After spending most of 2015 in positive territory, APN News & Media dipped for the last few days and finished the year down 3%.

Even digital players were not guaranteed growth over the last year. saw its price fall by 4.6%. And real estate group REA Group finished down 8.8% for the year.

Outdoor company Ooh Media (OML) which launched on the ASX in late 2014 has grown by 35% since listing. APN Outdoor (APO), which also listed late last year, was up by 17.7%.

iSentia Group (ISD) – which rebranded from Media Monitors three years ago – was the star performer, with its share price rising by 58%, giving the company a valuation of more than $750m.

The rise and rise of the iSentia share price | Source: Google Finance

The rise and rise of the iSentia share price | Source: Google Finance

Agency holding groups fared badly.

STW Group (SGN) , which includes agencies such as Ogilvy and Ikon, declined by 55.85%, to a valuation of $260m.

Enero (EGG), owner of Naked, BMF and Frank PR, dropped by 27% to a $67m capitalisation.

Marketing services company Salmat (SLM) saw its share price decline by 55.83%

All data used for Mumbrella’s analysis was sourced from Google Finance. The calculations do not take into account any dividends paid to shareholders during the period, which could have made an investment more worthwhile, independent of the share price.

Tim Burrowes


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