Ooh Media’s Brendon Cook: ‘We made a commitment to our teams to ensure the least number of jobs were impacted’

Ooh Media boss Brendon Cook says the business focused on making sure the least number of roles would be cut during the COVID-19 pandemic by waiting until last week to make its 22 redundancies rather than a ‘knee jerk reaction’ at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We only had one redundancy round, in the middle of August, because we made a decision in early March to see what this all meant. So we put a freeze on rehiring staff to fill roles which opened in the natural movement of people who did resign which meant, in the end, we were able to limit the redundancies to 22, but it’s around 50 different jobs that haven’t been filled,” Cook told Mumbrella.

Ooh Media’s results for the six months to January 30, 2020 [click to enlarge]

“We were able to take the time to really work out how to do it properly and honour our commitment to our teams that we would do everything in our power to ensure the least number of jobs were affected and ensure we really understood what was going on, rather than having a knee jerk reaction upfront.”

Ooh Media announced early on that staff would be asked to take accrued leave over Easter, including its executive team. Cook says this allowed the business to improve its balance sheet and bought it more time to make staffing decisions.

Nobody expected the FY20 financial results to be great for media companies, he says, but Ooh Media was focused on its balance sheet and delivering the best result for its investors and stakeholders. It also managed to hold onto its market share, which was something Cook says investors have responded well to.

“The key for us was that investors were able to see a real correlation between audiences coming back and revenue coming back. All the advanced data we have in tracking is allowing us to show advertisers how they can approach people in different target environments. At the moment the winners are suburban and regional, the CBDs are harder currently while people are working from home,” he says.

New Zealand has been a good market for Ooh Media to see how people respond during lockdown and in the period that follows. If there were to be another Australia-wide lockdown, Cook says, of course, businesses would be impacted, but he’s confident that the economy will be able to handle outbreaks like those we have seen in Melbourne and Queensland.

“I think people have to get used to the fact that we’re never going to get rid of this [COVID-19] until there’s a vaccine. Look at New Zealand – 102 days and then it came back again. The reality is it’s about how you work with it. What we’re saying is people get used to lockdown and the living conditions, the government will get better at controlling outbreaks and we’ll return to, if not business as normal, a new form of business as normal.”


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.