Nine targets $266m in cost cuts as virus hits

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 15 : 31-Mar-20

Nine Entertainment Company aims to reduce its costs by $266m in calendar 2020, including $102m in the first half. Amongst other things, the media giant expects its broadcasting division to achieve cost savings $130m if the entire NRL season is cancelled; this would be split across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years. Nine has also advised that the coronavirus lockdown has prompted strong growth in subscriptions and usage of its Stan and 9Now streaming services.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, STAN ENTERTAINMENT PTY LTD, 9NOW

Seven pulls guidance amid advertising uncertainties

Original article by Max Mason
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 25 : 25-Mar-20

Seven West Media has withdrawn the earnings guidance it issued in February, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Seven had already downgraded its underlying EBIT guidance for 2019-20 at its half-year results presentation. Seven’s advertising revenue will be hit by the AFL’s decision to suspend its 2020 season until at least the end of May. It is also the official broadcaster of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which were to have been a key source of advertising revenue for the media group in 2020.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM

How newsrooms are adapting to report the COVID-19 crisis

Original article by Max Mason, Natasha Gillezeau
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 33 : 23-Mar-20

Australia’s media industry has responded to the coronavirus pandemic by implementing measures to protect staff and reduce the infection’s spread. This includes working from home, splitting staff into several rotating teams and using technologies such as video conferencing. Meanwhile, consumers are turning to trusted sources of information about the virus, with news and current affairs shows dominating the list of the 20 highest-rating TV programs in the last week. The websites of traditional newspaper publishers have also experienced a spike in traffic, while Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor says the online-only publisher’s site had record traffic every day during the last week.

CORPORATES
NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, THE GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA, JUNKEE MEDIA PTY LTD

News vow: we won’t miss an edition

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 21 : 23-Mar-20

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted a surge in sales and subscriptions for print and digital newspapers are consumers seek trusted sources of information in an era of ‘fake news’. News Corp Australasia’s executive chairman Michael Miller says the media group’s mastheads will continue to be published during the crisis, and none will miss any editions. Miller has held talks with more than 60 business leaders and advertisers in Australia over the last week, giving assurances that News Corp will continue to support them during the crisis.

CORPORATES
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS

Morgan emerges as possible AAP buyer

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 21 : 23-Mar-20

Roy Morgan’s executive chairman Gary Morgan has expressed interest in buying the whole of Australian Associated Press, but only if the news wire service is a "viable business proposition". Morgan notes that AAP would have to be a "a very different company" without Nine Entertainment and News Corp Australia as customers, given that they account for about 60 per cent of its revenue. Media reports have indicated that a number of parties have expressed interest in buying some of AAP’s businesses, although CEO Bruce Davidson stresses that a deal may not eventuate. AAP is slated to shut down in June unless a buyer emerges.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS PTY LTD, ROY MORGAN LIMITED, NINE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX NEC, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Broadcast deal up in the air for AFL clubs

Original article by John Ferguson
The Australian – Page: 3 : 18-Mar-20

The Australian Football League is said to be keen to roll over its broadcasting rights, for which the Seven Network and Fox Sports paid $2.5bn under the current five-year deal. The AFL faces a huge financial hit, with the home-and-away season to be reduced to 17 rounds and the initial rounds to be played in empty stadiums. The host broadcasters could also potentially seek a fee reduction under minimum delivery requirements in the current rights deal. On the other hand, the lockdown could result in a TV ratings boom for AFL matches.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, SEVEN NETWORK LIMITED, SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Sports TV rights deals in turmoil

Original article by Leo Shanahan
The Australian – Page: 23 : 16-Mar-20

The growing list of sports events that have been cancelled or suspended due to the coronavirus has implications for broadcasting rights holders. Seven West Media faces the loss of about $90m in revenue if the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are cancelled; however, it is believed that the debt-laden official broadcaster would save about $150m if this occurs, including the return of about $100m that the International Olympic Committee has already received. Broadcasters are not expected to seek refunds from sports bodies if seasons such as the AFL and NRL are suspended rather than cancelled.

CORPORATES
SEVEN WEST MEDIA LIMITED – ASX SWM, INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE, NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE, SUPER RUGBY, FOXTEL MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, FOX SPORTS AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Rout offers BHP a fast-track for potash decision

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 18 : 16-Mar-20

BHP is due to decide by February 2021 whether to spend at least $US5.3 billion on developing the Jansen potash project in Canada. However, the coronavirus outbreak has given it the opportunity to immediately become a potash producer by launching a takeover bid for Canadian miner Mosaic. The outbreak has seen Mosaic’s shares fall by 50 per cent in the past two months, making it cheaper for BHP to acquire it than to develop Jansen, which would be unlikely to commence production until 2026.

CORPORATES
BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP, THE MOSAIC COMPANY

Anderson bows out of Ten amid ViacomCBS revamp

Original article by Lilly Vitorovich
The Australian – Page: 19 : 12-Mar-20

US media giant ViacomCBS has advised that it will not replace Ten Network CEO Paul Anderson following his sudden resignation. It will instead appoint co-leads for the free-to-air network. A management restructuring will also result in Ten’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey being promoted to the same role across ViacomCBS’s operations in Australia and New Zealand. Meanwhile, KordaMentha partner Henriette Rothschild has been appointed as ViacomCBS’s interim chief transformation officer.

CORPORATES
TEN NETWORK HOLDINGS LIMITED, VIACOMCBS INCORPORATED