Steady: “We’d prefer that the parties came to agreement for stability’s sake.”
Speculation that Nine Entertainment could be heading into receivership has left the country’s most influential media buyers unruffled.
Nine boss David Gyngell was reported to have said today that conflict between the hedge funds that control the network could send Nine into receivership, unless lenders find a way to shrink Nine’s debt mountain.
A story in the Herald Sun suggested that the networks major talent, such as Today presenter Karl Stefanovic and Big Brother host Sonia Kruger, would face pay cuts as a result.
But media buyers were unmoved by the news.
John Steedman, chairman of GroupM, Australia’s largest media buying group, said: “The big question for media buyers is, can the parties involved agree on a deal to keep Nine going as it stands? But in any case, we don’t see receivership as a reason why trade cannot continue as normal. We’d prefer that the parties came to agreement for stability’s sake.”
He added: “Nine’s rivals may see this as an opportunity initially, but they’d prefer a stable market rather than a weak competitor.”
Steedman said that the news was most frustrating for Nine staff, not the companies that work with it.
“I think the mood inside the Nine camp is one of frustration. Many staff can’t understand why this situation has been allowed to come about. They are just want to get the situation sorted, and move on,” he said.
Mark Coad, the CEO of PHD Australia, said: “There is a stigma attached to receivership with media owners – that advertising clients will worry that their money is no longer in safe hands. There is also the notion that Nine will become an easier trading partner for media buyers.”
“But the reality of the matter is, this won’t change the way we trade with Nine,” he said.
Nine’s commercial rival Seven declined to comment on the news. Ten was unavailable for comment.