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Why this CEO believes that TV advertising that airs free of charge could lose $500 million

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    OOh!media is one of Australia’s biggest listed media companies. Its market capitalisation is $780 million – about $280 million more than Seven West Media, the owner of Network Seven.

    The media agency advertising market was worth $8.9 billion in 2022, according to figures shared by Standard Media Index at the beginning of this year. Outdoor advertising hit $1.06 billion in 2019, before pandemic lockdowns sent it plummeting to $668.9 million. It recovered to $1.06 billion in 2022, and has continued to grow revenue this year.

    Television advertising, meanwhile, was worth $4.2 billion in 2022, including $3.4 billion in free-to-air TV, industry group ThinkTV reported. It was $3.43 billion in 2021.

    At its half-year results presentation on Monday, oOh!media posted 7 per cent growth in revenue to $296.6 million and adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $49.6 million, down 4 per cent. Adjusted net profit rose $0.1 million to $20.5 million.

    The company’s share price fell by more than 20 per cent in one day in May, after Ms O’Connor told the Macquarie Australia conference the ad market had been “softening significantly”.

    Double-digit growth in May and June drove revenue higher compared to 2022, especially in its road advertising category (up 12 per cent) and airport advertising division (up 73 per cent). They more than offset falls in its street furniture (down 3 per cent) and office tower (down 7 per cent) categories.

    Ms O’Connor said increases to the cash rate tend to hit small businesses that bought advertising directly, as opposed to through agencies.

    “I think direct is more sensitive to economic shocks,” she said. “Agency is driving the growth. In a short-term market, it’s hard to predict which way it will turn.”

    She said the outlook for the third quarter of 2023 was 7 per cent up on last year.

    The company declared a 1.75¢ interim dividend.


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