SCA boss still sees a bright future for television despite write downs

Southern Cross Austero boss Grant Blackley still sees a future for television despite his group’s $228m write down of its TV broadcasting assets, which were revealed in its half yearly financial report.

Discussing the results with Mumbrella, Blackley said: “There’s no question it has come under pressure in recent years.”

Blackley described SCA’s half yearly report as ‘a solid set of results’

“I think the way people are viewing television is naturally different and we know that from streaming data and related. I think television has a special place in the community.

“As long as we deliver quality content to consumers in the free environment I think it will continue to be a staple for viewers and advertisers.”

SCA’s audio arm, in particular its metro radio stations, were the bright spot in the company’s report, something Blackley put down the group’s ‘education’ to advertisers about the medium’s strengths.

Blackley sees both the Hit and Triple M networks improving their performance over the next half: “Twelve months ago we were still bedding in some changes in both in breakfast and in drive, we’re now a year beyond that and I think the market has more confidence in our ability to do that and we certainly have more momentum and continuity.

“I think that’s evident across the board in what we’ve invested. There’s a couple of spikes that we think we will service well which is the Moonman in the morning on Triple M and Bec and Cossi in Adelaide.’

The claimed 400% growth in podcasting is a pointer to the future of the group’s audio operation, Blackley observed.

“We’ve always had a stated position that in the first two to three years we’d be close to break even, we still hold that view, we’re 18 months since the launch of PodcastOne.

“I think you’d recognise, and the market recognises is that we’re coming up to delivering 100 million downloads in our first 18 months and I think we’ll achieve that position somewhere in the next four weeks.

“We have created scale, we are a premium commercial podcaster which I think gives us line of sight to many advertisers who want to invest in premium content. I also think there’s an appreciation for podcasting in general. Not only at a consumer level but also within the media markets of advertising clients and buyers.”

Blackley concluded by highlighting the strength of Austereo’s combination of regional and metro assets, claiming advertisers are have over-invested in the big city markets while neglecting the bush, something he now sees changing.

“They’ve over-indexed in metro. For us, this becomes an opportunity.”

Southern Cross Austereo’s shares finished unchanged at $1.12 after yesterday’s results announcement.


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