SCA may charge advertisers more to be in podcasts than on radio says Blackley

Southern Cross Austereo may charge advertisers higher rates to be on podcasts than on its radio shows, boss Grant Blackley has said.

Following the release of SCA’s annual financial results  CEO Blackley said the company would “most definitely” be able to charge the same amount for an ad in a podcast compared to broadcast, and possibly more.

Blackley: Podcasting a major focus for SCA

The comments come nine months after SCA announced its podcast venture with US network, PodcastOne, to form PodcastOne Australia.

“Certainly, through our association with PodcastOne in the US, it is becoming a maturing business,” he said. “It has moved effectively from zero dollars to what is forecast to be a $550m market.”

Based on the CPM, or cost of reaching a thousand listeners, rates could be higher, he said. “The time will come where we can achieve not only comparable, but potentially premium CPM for that, because of the unique nature of that asset.

“There’s some very compelling reasons why it should occur. I think it’s a medium that will continue to accelerate and mature as we’ve seen occur in the US.”

Blackley also signalled further investment in podcast-first productions, rather than simply repackaging radio material. SCA owns the Hit and Triple M radio networks.

“I think its important we invest in local stories being told in podcasting, and to that end we should be spearheading our content developments for podcasting.

One of the podcasts SCA has launched through PodcastOne Australia

“And if we get both of those things right, having a very clear commercial strategy to monetise that investment is pretty easy.

“Fundamentally, advertisers can choose the style of environment they wish to be in and it’s a very safe environment, and that’s important in today’s market.”

Asked about Nine’s programming contribution to SCA’s revenue growth, which in regional markets climbed 10% to $382.2m, thanks to the new regional affiliation agreement with Nine – Blackley said Nine would continue to help drive revenue growth.

SCA locked in a regional affiliate agreement with Nine, which commenced on July 1 2016

“We are delighted with our association with Channel Nine. It’s a very easy association.  Their investment in content and their performance in the last 12 months has been wonderful.”

Blackley also signalled that having reduced its previous high levels of debt, SCA could be player if changes to the media law are enacted. He said: “I think the improvement in our balance sheet and the stability we’ve provided to the company and our shareholders, means we can look at any and all of these opportunities, pretty widely,” he said.

“I’m not here to talk about what that strategy is today, but at least it provides a seat at the table for us to do that if media reform is improved, given we have improved the value and flexibility of the company.”

During the investors call, Blackley added the company had no inclination to bid for sports rights.


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