Nine Lifts Profit 27% As Digital Subscribers Boom

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

A solid performance for Nine Entertainment Co in 2017-18 with the company lifting net full year profit by 27% in what will be its last profit as a standalone TV business ahead of the agreed takeover of Fairfax Media.

Net profit before significant items rose to $156.7 million in the year to June 30, up from $123.6 million in 2016-17. Group earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) were up 25% to $257.2 million on 6% rise in revenue to $1.32 billion.

Nine will pay an unchanged fully-franked final dividend of 5 cents a share. After a similar sized interim, total payout for the year will be 10 cents a share up from 9.5 cents in 2016-17. Nine sees group earnings rising to the range of $280 million to $300 million range in 2018-19, with 1% growth in the metro free-to-air television ad market.

Rival Seven said earlier this week that it is looking for a 5% to 10% rise in operating earnings this financial year.

Nine said its online streaming service, 9Now, grew its registered user base to about 6.5 million in the year, while Stan, the streaming company jointly owned by Nine and Fairfax, saw a 40% rise in active subscribers in the year to more than 1.1 million.

Nine had nothing to say on the planned merger in this morning’s statement except to note its announcement of the deal.

Net debt at June 302018 was $121 million, down from $224 million 12 months earlier, which included the proceeds from the sale of the Group’s Willoughby site in Sydney’s northern suburbs.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks said in yesterday’s statement the company’s strong operating performance from last year continued across its entire suite of assets.

“Positive free-to-air TV ratings momentum combined with our focus on the 25 to 54-year demographics is translating to improving revenue share,” he said.

“In Digital, 9Now is experiencing strong revenue growth and our digital publishing business has reported accelerating growth in premium revenues in line with our strategy.

“Stan has raced through the milestone of one million subscribers and remains focused on the build of a longer-term competitive and profitable local SVOD player“ Mr Marks said.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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