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SWM

Seven strengthens sales leadership team

By SEVEN

Seven West Media today announced the creation of a new senior role and a restructuring of its sales senior leadership team to reflect its position as Australia’s leading total audience network in across capital city, regional and digital markets.

Seven has appointed Prime Media Group’s Sydney Sales Manager, Adam Forbes, to the new role of National Direct and Independent Agency Sales Director, responsible for building and overseeing client relationships across independent agencies and direct channels.

Following the recent acquisition of Prime’s assets, which has created the largest national total video audience in the country, Seven has expanded the responsibilities of its capital city television sales directors to include regional markets:

  • Georgie Nichols is NSW Sales Director
  • Peter Charles is Victoria Sales Director
  • Todd Dickinson is Queensland Sales Director
  • Damian Hampson is Western Australia Sales Director
  • Stephen Woolley is South Australia Sales Director, working alongside Russell Media

Katie Finney, Director of 7RED and the executive responsible for the strategy, creative direction and implementation of brand integration in Seven’s programming, has expanded her remit to include regional amplification and creating deeper connections for brands with critical regional audiences.
The new roles report to Seven West Media National Sales Director, Natalie Harvey, and are effective immediately.


Ms Harvey said: “The expanded remit and new structure of the senior leadership team across capital city, regional and digital has been designed for customer and business success. The new structure ensures we will retain expert knowledge in capital city and regional markets and have the right skills, resources and capabilities in place to ensure our commercial partners and brands remain at the heart of what we do.


“As Seven accelerates towards a dynamic and converged audience trading model, we are rapidly adapting and innovating our commercial strategy to ensure an easier, faster and more effective ecosystem for our clients as they engage with the largest national total video audience in the country.


“As the most watched free-to-air broadcaster across all screens, Seven can now help advertisers and agencies easily reach more than 91% of Australia’s population each month, including in the capital cities, regional Australia and digitally on 7plus,” she said.

Seven appoints National Sport Sales Director

By SEVEN

The Seven Network today announced the appointment of Rob Maclean as National Sport Sales Director, effective immediately.

Mr Maclean will be responsible for delivering the sales strategy across all of Seven’s powerhouse sports broadcasts, including the AFL, cricket, horse racing, Supercars, NFL and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in July. 

Reporting to Seven West Media National Sales Director, Natalie Harvey, Mr MacLean will lead the national sport sales team to develop and execute market-leading sponsorship opportunities and work with clients to integrate their brand stories into Seven’s powerful sports content.

Mr Maclean joined Seven in 2007 and has a successful track record in driving commercial success across key sporting codes and events. He was most recently Head of Commercial and Partnerships, Network Sport, and led the sales strategy and implementation of two of the most commercially successful Olympic Games ever on Seven – Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022.

We are thrilled that Rob will take up the role of the national Sport Sales Director. Over Rob’s 15 years at Seven, he has created strong partnerships, delivered exceptional commercial outcomes and provided excellent team leadership. As we integrate the Seven and Prime businesses, Rob will lead the charge in evolving our sport product and creating even better opportunities for brands to connect with millions of Australians in the most exciting and engaging content there is.

Natalie Harvey, Seven West Media National Sales Director

Sport has always been in my DNA and I’m thrilled to be able to lead Seven’s wonderful sport sales team to deliver exceptional brand and business outcomes for our partners through the power of live sport and the strength of Seven’s truly national, cross-platform offering.

Seven has an incredible sport schedule, including Australia’s #1 winter sport – the AFL – Australia’s best horse racing 52 weeks a year, the best cricket plus the exhilarating Supercars and NFL. Add to that the most inclusive and diverse event of 2022, the Commonwealth Games, and we have a big year ahead.

Rob Maclean, National Sport Sales Director

Seven West Media receives WGEA citation in Australian media first

By SEVEN

Recognised as Employer of Choice for Gender Equality

Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) is proud to announce it is the first media company in Australia to be named an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA).

Seven West Media is one of only 12 new change-making organisations across Australia to receive the highly regarded citation in 2022, after being assessed against extensive and rigorous criteria.  

The citation is a significant recognition of the company’s industry leadership and an important endorsement of its commitment to drive positive change and achieve gender equality in the workplace.

Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “Diversity and inclusiveness are at the core of our values and part of our business strategy at all levels. We are focused on achieving gender equality across our business. Currently 52% of our people are female across on-screen and off-screen roles, and female representation accounts for 51% of our senior leadership positions.

“Being recognised as among the best employers for women is an important milestone for Seven West Media and one that we are immensely proud of, but our work is not done. This is just part of our continued evolution to create a supportive, flexible and fair workplace for all people to be recognised and to thrive.”

Seven West Media Chief People and Culture Officer, Katie McGrath, said: “Creating a safe environment and richly diverse culture is critical for any high-performing company. We’ve taken progressive action to increase the representation of women in senior positions and we are whole-heartedly committed to ensuring ongoing gender balance at all levels throughout Seven West Media, including during recruitment and career development opportunities.

“The WGEA citation builds on our continued responsibility to promote diversity, equality and inclusion while actively engaging with communities across Australia. The latest citation comes after Seven West Media was again the proud broadcast partner of UN Women Australia for International Women’s Day. We are also the official media partner of White Ribbon Day and we recently registered our intent to develop our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan with Reconciliation Australia.

“Our extensive charity activities also positively contribute towards a better Australia, with Seven West Media donating over $34 million a year in airtime support to over 140 organisations across the country. Our 2021 Good Friday Appeal raised $18 million for Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, and over $48 million was raised during Channel 7’s Perth telethon last year,” she said.

Seven has implemented a number of people-focused policies and support systems to improve gender equality. These include policies to eliminate gender remuneration gaps, targets to improve gender equality outcomes, flexible working, gender neutral paid parental leave, employee consultation and initiatives to prevent sexual harassment and discrimination. 

One hundred and twenty Australian companies sit alongside Seven West Media as WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality, including Accenture, Allianz, Blackmores, Deloitte, ING, Kellogg, Medibank, PwC, Telstra, Woolworths and more.

WGEA Director, Mary Wooldridge, said: “Each year, we accept applications for our WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation from those employers who are raising the bar when it comes to driving change, creating the circumstances that allow all people, regardless of their gender, to thrive.

“After passing through our evidence-based benchmarking evaluations, our EOCGE citation holders are officially recognised as some of the best employers in Australia, who are committed and dedicated to action in achieving gender equality.

“Critically, these organisations are delivering on a formula that sees better support structures in place for working families; stronger actions to address pay inequalities; and strategic recruitment and promotion practices that help to encourage the full participation of women at work,” she said.

“We extend our congratulations to these leading employers, and look forward to working with them closely to accelerate positive change across Australian workplaces.”

Seven announces senior sales leadership appointments

By SEVEN

Seven West Media today announced key new senior sales leadership appointments as part of its ongoing strategy to deliver unrivalled national total video trading for commercial partners and brands.

Reporting to Seven West Media Chief Revenue Officer, Kurt Burnette, the new appointments follow the recent acquisition of Prime Media Group, which has created Australia’s first wholly-owned national television and digital group.

Natalie Harvey, previously Network Director of Sales, has been appointed National Sales Director, responsible for leading the network’s convergence and growth across capital city, regional and BVOD markets.

Nicole Bence, previously Network Digital Sales Director, takes up the new position of National Sales Director of Digital, responsible for driving a range of advanced digital advertising initiatives and overseeing Seven’s commercial digital, data, innovation and programmatic offerings.

Dave Walker joins Seven from Prime as Director of National Trading and Revenue Operations. With over 30 years of industry experience in Australia and New Zealand, Mr Walker brings to Seven a wealth of knowledge across sales leadership, television trading, system integration and media agency strategy planning and buying. 

Greg Gabel, previously Sales Director at 7Queensland, takes on the new role of National Regional Sales Director of Local Markets, responsible for overseeing sales in all regional markets and driving new products and processes for local teams across broadcast and digital. His appointment brings together regional sales areas under one person for the first time.

In Western Australia, the local regional sales team will work closely with the Perth capital city sales team and report into Chief Executive Officer, Seven West Media WA, Maryna Fewster, and Seven Perth Sales Director, Damian Hampson.

Seven is the most watched free-to-air broadcaster across all screens and our acquisition of Prime provides our commercial partners and brands with an unmatched total video audience proposition.

Seven can now reach more than 90% of Australia’s population each month as one integrated company, giving advertisers and agencies easy and seamless access to metro and regional markets. It’s a game-changing move for our customers, our people and our company, meaning quite simply we are even better together.

Seven’s national leadership team and new sales structure is designed to support Seven’s transformation and deliver a brilliant customer experience, making it easier, faster and more effective for brands to reach their desired audience across all of Australia, including in the capital cities, regional Australia and digitally on 7plus.

Our advertising and trading solutions will be further enhanced as we accelerate towards a dynamic and converged audience trading model.

Kurt Burnette, Media Chief Revenue Officer

Seven announces first David Leckie Seven Scholarship Program recipient

By SEVEN, Seven West Media

Seven West Media is delighted to announce that Madeline McKeown is the recipient of the inaugural David Leckie Seven Scholarship Program.

The annual program was established in September 2021 in memory of former Seven West Media Chief Executive Officer, the late David Leckie.

It was set up in conjunction with Skye Leckie and David and Skye’s sons Harry and Ben, and offers a 12-month scholarship at Seven West Media for a junior graduate with a passion for sales, programming or news.

The applications were judged by Skye, Harry and Ben Leckie and senior Seven West Media executives.

Skye, Harry and Ben Leckie said: “Harry, Ben and I were thrilled to be involved in the selection of the recipient of David’s inaugural scholarship.

“The candidates were outstanding, however, there can only be one recipient. Madeline is a very accomplished young person and we felt that she will really excel in her experience at Seven. The scholarship will cover all facets of a highly successful business and Seven is a fantastic place to work and to learn.

“David’s first love in his life was always TV. He was so passionate about all aspects of it. Davo was a tough taskmaster, from the old school, and if you didn’t ‘stack up’, you knew about it! That made people strive to achieve and improve,” they said.

“We felt in our discussions with Madeline that David would be very pleased to welcome her to his team. We wish her all the best and encourage her to take advantage of everything that is offered by Seven.

“We are so grateful for this legacy to honour David’s life and we look forward to watching Madeline’s success – and we will never forget David’s mantra about his competitors: ‘When they zig, you zag!’.”

David was a wonderful mentor and colleague to many of us at Seven and the David Leckie Seven Scholarship Program is a fitting tribute to his legacy and memory.

Madeline is smart, motivated and keen to learn and grow in the media industry. I know David would have been very impressed by her and would have been a great mentor and support. Like everyone at Seven, I’m very pleased to welcome Madeline and I look forward to seeing her career with us flourish.

James Warburton, Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Seven West Media releases financial results for the half year ended 25 December 2021

By SEVEN, Seven West Media

Summary:

  • Group EBIT of $204 million, up 34% year-on-year
  • Seven Network #1 in broadcast television, 7plus #1 in BVOD
  • Total TV advertising market robust: metropolitan TV +13%, regional TV +7.2%, BVOD +58%
  • #1 in metropolitan broadcast with 40.3% revenue share (+3.7 points); 41.4% national total TV share, including 46.3% regional1 and 43.1% BVOD
  • Digital growth underpins positive WAN result
  • Seven Digital EBITDA up 144% to $76 million, now 35% of group earnings
  • Upgrade of full-year group EBITDA guidance to $315 million to $325 million (including $10 million second half contribution from Prime)
  • SWM Board to review capital management options in the second half to further enhance shareholder value

Overview:

Seven West Media Limited (ASX: SWM) today reported a statutory net profit after income tax of $120.5 million on group revenue of $819.5 million. Underlying net profit after tax (excluding significant items) was $128.7 million, an increase of 48% on the previous year. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $215.3 million and earnings before interest and tax of $203.5 million increased 31% and 34% respectively versus the prior corresponding period.

Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “This result reflects the successful execution of our strategy over the past 30 months. We have a television network that has returned to the #1 position in a robust advertising market; a fast-growing digital business that now makes up 35% of earnings; a turnaround at WAN; and a team focused on growth.

“We have completed the acquisition of the assets of Prime Media Group, which unlocks an unrivalled opportunity for the business to capture a greater share of the $3.8 billion total television market.

1. Pro-forma – Regional includes Prime’s markets including GWN7 and 7Queensland

“The balance sheet has been significantly strengthened over the past 18 months, with leverage now at 0.9x net debt/EBITDA on a pro-forma basis after the acquisition of Prime. The Board will assess capital management options during the second half to further enhance shareholder value.

“We had an amazing start to the financial year with the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which was the biggest television and streaming event in Australian history. The Voice exceeded our expectations, becoming the #1 regular series of 2021, while the AFL Grand Final was the #1 program of the year. Our new entertainment schedule is driving television ratings gains and significant growth for 7plus. Over 11 million users are now registered on 7plus and we expect this to grow further with the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

“Seven returned to the #1 position in ratings leadership for the fiscal half and the 2021 calendar year, which was a significant achievement. The TV advertising market was very strong throughout the year. For the six months to 31 December, the markets were up 13% in metropolitan, 7.2% in regional and 58% in BVOD. SWM outperformed the market growth in every segment. In the metropolitan market, our 40.3% share was in line with our forecast.

“After growing 144% this half to $76 million, Seven Digital is on track to deliver EBITDA of more than $130 million for the full year, or approximately 40% of group EBITDA. The transformation of the digital side of our business has been dramatic, with a step change in the sophistication of our platforms, our data and how we monetise these audiences. This half also marked the first contribution from the digital platforms payments for our news content.

“WAN continues to execute its strategy of holding the line on print, reducing costs and turbocharging the digital and subscription side of its business. Revenue growth in digital more than offset print decline in the period. Underlying EBITDA grew 65% in the period after excluding one-off benefits for JobKeeper and PING grants in the prior period.

“Seven West Ventures has strong momentum, completing six investments in the period, including four new companies with large addressable markets. The investments are predominantly via media for equity which can be supercharged by SWM’s assets. The portfolio value increased 56% to $87 million in the period.”

Results:

The group reported revenue of $819.5 million (excluding share of associates), up 27.2% on the prior corresponding period on a continuing operation basis, driven by a recovery in the metropolitan TV advertising market and the growth of 7plus.

Net debt was reduced by $212.4 million to $116.7 million, which includes the consolidation of cash from Prime. However, adjusting for the timing of the Prime acquisition and some cash movements, pro-forma net debt for the group is $295 million, or approximately 0.9x pro-forma leverage. SWM’s aim is to operate within the 1.0-1.5x leverage band.

Financial year results from continuing operationsHalf year ended 25 December 2021Half year ended 25 December 20201
EBITDA$215.3m$164.9m
EBIT$203.5m$152.5m
Underlying NPAT$128.7m$87.1m
Underlying EPS8.4 cents5.7 cents
Final Dividend per Ordinary Share
Profit (loss) before tax (including significant items)$173.6m$163.1m
Profit (loss) after tax (including significant items)$120.5m$116.9m
Basic EPS7.8 cents7.6 cents
Diluted EPS7.8 cents7.6 cents
Reconciliation to statutory results:  
Profit before significant items, net finance costs and tax$203.5m$152.5m
Net finance costs$20.3m$30.8m
Profit before tax excluding significant items$183.2m$121.6m
Significant Items (cost) income($9.6m)$41.5m
Profit/(loss) before income tax$173.6m$163.1m
Comparative financial information has been restated for the following:
Prior year figures have been restated for adoption of IFRIC agenda decisions. See Appendix 4D for further details

Further details are contained in Seven West Media’s investor presentation lodged with the ASX today.

Outlook and priorities:

Trading update and strategic priorities:

  • The strength of the television and BVOD advertising markets has continued in the second half:
    • Q3 metropolitan TV bookings are tracking 13% ahead of a year ago, including the Ashes Test series and the Winter Olympics
    • Targeting a two-percentage point increase in revenue share in the second half of FY22
  • WAN revenue to grow low single digits in FY22
  • Seven Digital EBITDA forecast increased to more than $130 million 
  • Group costs at mid-range of previous guidance, before Prime
  • Group EBITDA target has been upgraded to $315 million to $325 million, including $10 million Prime second half contribution2 
  • SWM Board will assess capital management options during 2H22 to further enhance shareholder value.

2. Prime FY21 pro-forma EBITDA of $27m excluding JobKeeper and PING grants

We are now in the final phase of our three-year strategy, with key milestones achieved, and we see significantly more potential for the business. The Prime acquisition is the first step in unlocking our unrivalled ability to target the national total television market. Momentum is strong and the outlook for the markets we operate in remains robust. We will provide an investor update later in the year on the next phase of our strategy.

James Warburton

This release has been authorised to be given to ASX by the Board of Seven West Media Limited.

Acquisition of Prime Media

By Seven West Media

Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) today announced that it has entered into a conditional Share Sale Agreement to acquire all the business and related assets of Prime Media Group (ASX: PRT) via the acquisition of Prime Television (Holdings) Pty Ltd, Seven Affiliate Sales Pty Ltd and all their subsidiaries (“PRT Business”).

As a sale of a main undertaking for ASX Listing Rules purposes, the acquisition will be subject to a vote of the PRT shareholders to be held in December 2021.

SWM strongly believes in the rationale of a combined SWM-PRT Business, which will create the leading wholly-owned commercial premium broadcast, video and news network across Australia, reaching more than 90% of the Australian population every month.

This proposal is an important step forward for both companies. SWM and PRT are great partners and have a long, successful relationship. Together, they will offer the best content for our national audience and unmatchable premium revenue opportunities for our clients.

The acquisition means SWM will become Australia’s leading commercial premium broadcast, video and news network, with the potential to reach more than 90% of Australia’s population each month.

The proposed transaction is an exciting and transformative development for advertisers and media buyers. It means we will be able to give advertisers easy and seamless access via a single platform to capital city and regional markets.

James Warburton, SWM Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Seven appoints Head of Convergence Audience Trading

By Seven West Media

Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) today announced the appointment of Alex Tansley as Head of Convergence Audience Trading, effective immediately.

Mr Tansley’s appointment follows Seven’s recent announcement of its Australia-first project with Salesforce, the global leaders in CRM, to transform and enhance its media trading platform as a key component in the launch of CODE 7+.

In the newly created position, Mr Tansley will be responsible for developing and delivering Seven’s strategy across dynamic and converged audience trading solutions through CODE 7+, CRM and developing new operating models and products. 

Mr Tansley has extensive industry experience in commercial strategy roles, having previously held senior positions at MCN, Foxtel Media and, most recently, at Seven West Media as Revenue Strategy Manager, where he was responsible for driving a range of advanced advertising projects as part of Seven’s Enhanced Advertiser and Viewer Experience [E.A.V.E.] initiative.

Mr Tansley reports to Seven West Media Network Director of Sales, Natalie Harvey, and Network Digital Sales Director, Nicole Bence.

Alex comes to this role with a deep knowledge, brilliant strategic thinking and the capability to help drive Seven’s future capabilities in dynamic, converged television buying through CODE 7+.

This new, innovative role will support Seven’s transformation and our ambition to enable customers to engage and execute with ease and speed across Seven, 7plus and other audience platforms. Seven is the most watched free-to-air broadcaster across all screens, which means we have the biggest audience to gain insights from and connect our partners with, which we do in a multitude of ways using best-in-market technology, processes and people.

Kurt Burnette, Seven West Media Chief Revenue Officer

There is no more strategic or passionate media professional in the industry than Alex Tansley. His appointment to this crucial role is further proof of Seven’s commitment to being audience-led and platform agnostic in our pursuit of delivering more effective and better outcomes for our client and agency partners. The future of television is here and Seven is leading the way.

Natalie Harvey, Seven West Media Network Director of Sales

Having spent over eight years working across commercial strategy in the television industry, I’m passionate about delivering the best experience for advertisers, partners and viewers, and look forward to taking Seven’s successful converged audience buying solution to the next level.

Alex Tansley

Seven’s new state-of-the-art digital and broadcast converged media trading platform, CODE 7+, will be underpinned by the latest industry total audience measurement VOZ, along with Seven’s market-leading audience intelligence platform 7REDiQ.

Total TV tells the total story

By Seven West Media

By James Warburton, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Seven West Media

It was more than 16 years ago, but I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was 8.35am the morning after Desperate Housewives had launched on Seven. The OzTAM overnight audience numbers arrived, and we had a huge hit our hands: 2.5 million viewers in metropolitan markets alone. The rebirth of Seven had begun.

Fast forward almost two decades and, until a couple of weeks ago, the TV industry was still obsessing about overnight audience numbers. What that meant, of course, was that we were leading the public discussion about free-to-air TV audiences with the smallest number we had. Never mind the rise of time-shifted viewing, BVOD and live streaming: as an industry we were ignoring the dramatic change in how our content is consumed and pushing overnight numbers which were, not surprisingly, in steady decline.

Overnight audience numbers are very misleading. In some cases, they represent less than 70% of a TV program’s true audience. When catch-up viewing in its various forms and live streaming are added, some programs add hundreds of thousands of “new” viewers. Not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands.

For years, self-appointed experts have proclaimed that TV is dying. They are, of course, wrong (and, in many cases, biased). TV isn’t dying. It is changing. It is adapting to changes in how, where and when people want to watch video content.

The free-to-air TV networks are constantly being told we need to innovate in how we create and sell our content, how we use data, how we trade with our commercial partners, and so on.

And yet, until very recently, we were clinging to antiquated audience numbers that undersold our innovation and painted us in the worst possible light. We were our own worst enemy. Would Google and Facebook go to market with archaic audience numbers? No. They put out the biggest numbers they can, even when there are questions about how real or commercially relevant they are (does anyone really believe two seconds is a video view?).

On 13 September, after more than six months of debate, cajoling and setbacks, we finally went public with daily total audience numbers covering seven days of viewing, that is, overnight audience numbers plus time-shifted viewing, BVOD and live streaming. Sure, at this stage, we are only distributing two top 30 program tables each day – one ranking programs by total people, the other by 25 to 54s – but it is a great first step.

The total audience numbers are sent to media just after 9.00am every day, followed by the overnight numbers at about 10.00am. The vast majority of the journalists who write about TV are ignoring the total audience numbers and still focusing on overnights. That is not even remotely surprising. As an industry, we spent decades feeding the media reporting of the overnight ratings. The only way to stop that is to stop the public distribution of the overnight ratings. That isn’t going to happen, at least, not yet.

The overnight ratings are not what we trade on with media buyers or for our clients, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. The seven-day total audience numbers are an important currency and show the real reach and impact of our content.

Take the new season of SAS Australia. So far, its series total audience numbers are about 30% bigger than its overnight numbers. Its first episode had 968,000 viewers overnight. Over the following seven days, that climbed to 1.36 million (including SAS Uncensored on 7plus), an increase of 41% or 392,000 viewers. The increase among 25 to 54s was even bigger, at 58%. In a very different genre, Home and Away routinely sees increases of about 20% from overnight to total audience numbers, representing up to 200,000 additional viewers.

Other shows on air now are seeing similar, albeit smaller, gains as SAS Australia, including The Block, The Newsreader and The Masked Singer. Their increases reflect how our consumers – and therefore our industry – are changing. Total audience numbers will only become more important, as BVOD and live streaming continue to grow.

As an industry, we need to increase our focus on total audience numbers. That includes convincing the media who report on TV to focus on the total audience numbers. Of course, the solution is to stop publicly releasing overnight numbers. For some, that is brave step, so we will keep working to help them take it.

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