All profits down for Aussie media companies

Seven Media Group’s 2009 annual report reveals profit dropped to AU$12m from AU$142m last year, a fall of 91.2 per cent. This is due to its writedowns—reducing the book value of its media assets because they were overvalued compared to the market value. A company statement says the writedowns reflect the “adoption of a conservative outlook given the current global economic difficulties”.

Despite this action, Seven reported a 16.8 per cent rise in net cash to AU$1.4b. Seven Network, Pacific Magazines and Yahoo!7 remain strong in the market. The media group also includes Sky News Australia (33 per cent stake) and TiVo (67 per cent of licenses).

APN News & Media’s net profit fell by 50 per cent to AU$36.1m in the last six months, and revenue was down 18 per cent to AU$516.7m.

Its outdoor advertising division has suffered and its 14 Australian daily newspapers have not seen improvement in trading this year. However, its 17 NZ titles – including the Herald – were in better shape than the same time last year. Australia’s radio division was also not performing well.

Fairfax Media has reported a loss of AU$380m in the last year. Revenue fell 10.6 per cent to AU$2.59b. But Fairfax believes the shareholders will be happy with the result given the current economic climate.

The company is considering charging for online content and was open to talks with its rival News Ltd to agree on a common plan. News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch advocates charging for online copy would compensate for the drop in advertising income. It’s doubtful that Sydney Morning Herald and The Age readers will be thrilled at the prospect.

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