What media CEOs get paid

Nine Entertainment boss Mike Sneesby was the top-paid media executive in the 2023 financial year, earning $3.4 million in total pay with close to half a million paid in a cash bonus. 

Listed media companies have revealed executives’ remuneration details in their latest annual reports, as the annual general meeting season swiftly approaches.

Mike Sneesby

Shareholders will be expecting justifications for any big increases in executive paychecks, particularly after a Governance Institute of Australia report found in June that the fixed pay of ASX 200 chiefs had swelled up to 15 per cent – more than twice the inflation rate and at least three times more than most workers. 

Nine Entertainment is the only media player in the top 200 companies by market capitalisation on the ASX. Sneesby might have claimed the highest statutory remuneration in FY23, but it was a dip from his $3.9 million package in FY22.

Both Sneesby and the company’s chief sales officer Michael Stephenson are expected to get a fixed salary rise in this financial year to $1.5 million and $990,000 respectively, notwithstanding that the media group had double-digit falls in its latest full-year earnings and profit, quoting a challenging television advertising market.

Seven West Media’s chief executive James Warburton came in second on the media pay rank with a $2.8 million package, but this was following a $4.6 million paycheck the previous year. 

The company’s shareholders questioned the rate of Warburton’s fixed salary at the company AGM in 2022, suggesting that it was too high on a market capitalisation basis. Seven’s market cap was $473.8 million as of 3 October, compared to $3.3 billion for its closest competitor Nine. 

But Seven’s board maintained the rate for FY24, saying that “market capitalisation is only one factor to apply, with competitor alignment; business complexity and regulatory environment being other factors to consider.”


Southern Cross Austereo (SCA)’s former boss Grant Blackley, who departed the company at the end of FY23, received a $2.4 million remuneration package. This includes (among other components) a $1.2 million fixed salary, $350,200 in cash bonus, and termination benefits worth $864,582.

SCA claims that there was a 25 per cent cost saving in the leadership team since the now-CEO John Kelly’s previous chief operating officer role was not replaced.

Two other prominent listed media companies, ARN Media and oOh!media, run their financial reports based on calendar years. Their 2023 annual reports are expected early next year.

According to oOh!media’s report for CY22 released this year, its CEO Cathy O’Connor received $2.1 million in total remuneration package, including $1.3 million in fixed salary and $351,532 in cash bonus.

Ciaran Davis, chief executive of ARN Media, received a $2.0 million total package with a $1.1 million fixed salary and a $155,250 cash bonus in CY22.

Enero Group – the owner of advertising agencies including Hotwire, BMF and Orchard – is one of the largest ASX-listed agency groups. Its CEO, Brent Scrimshaw, took home $2.1 million in total remuneration package in FY23.

While Scrimshaw has a lowered fixed salary ($823,408) compared to other media bosses, he received a $424,350 cash bonus. Scrimshaw’s CEO contract with the Enero Group was extended for another three years in April.


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