Oz Investors Respond to Network's Ratings Hits

25 August 2005

In a roundabout, down under, way Australian TV network Seven has seen profits dip but its share price rise.

Investors have eliminated the negative (a big drop in net profits) to accentuate the positive: a leap in the broadcaster's audience share, which they expect to translate into revenue growth in the year ahead.

Seven is the only network to see audiences rise on the back of hit shows like Desperate Housewives, Border Security and Dancing with the Stars.

Ceo David Leckie told a results briefing that Seven's net profit for the year to June 30 was A$93 million ($70m; €57m; £39m). Excluding one-off items, such as profits on the sale of stakes in two businesses, Seven's profit dropped 22% to A$65 million, partly due to increased operating costs.

But the ratings future is bright, according to Leckie: "Blind Freddy could see that this network is going have a lot of shows in the top twenty next year, which is going to be good for our advertisers."

Leckie adds that Seven has knocked rival Nine off its perch as the highest-rating 6pm news program, while early morning show Sunrise has "changed the face of breakfast television" with a 22% increase in its audience this year.

Seven's Pacific Magazines more than doubled pre-tax earnings to A$36 million after picking up titles such as Marie Claire and Better Homes and Gardens as part of the acquisition of Murdoch Magazines in July last year.

Data sourced from Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff