Nine records positive half-yearly result as advertising, digital markets lift out of COVID gloom

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Media company Nine has recorded a $182 million half-yearly profit, in line with earlier guidance.

In a release to shareholders Nine, the publisher of this website, reported a 42 per cent increase in earnings before tax compared to the same period last year, of $355 million.

Total revenue for the media group for the first half was $1.16 billion. The media giant also pledged to return Nine’s JobKeeper allowance, which it accessed for wholly-owned businesses, to the Federal Government.

Outgoing Nine CEO Hugh Marks. (Nine)

Nine’s outgoing Chief Executive Officer Hugh Marks said the business performed “incredibly well” despite the associated challenges with trading during a global pandemic.

“We acted swiftly when circumstances changed, whilst continuing to embrace opportunity and remain true to our vision – of building Australia’s leading cross-platform media business,” Mr Marks said.

“The lessons we have learned from COVID are clear. Our focus on strict cost efficiency at our traditional media assets delivered the profitability we were targeting.

“And continued investment in our digital businesses is delivering string digital profit growth.

“Together, enabling us to continue to migrate the business to a more flexible, digital base.”

Primarily known for its television assets, Nine now includes a massive repertoire of brands across all mediums after merging with Fairfax Media in 2018. (Supplied)

In an email to staff Mr Marks said Nine continues to have discussions with digital giants Google and Facebook, with the aim of creating “incremental revenue” for its journalism businesses.

No announcement was made to shareholders regarding the details of the deals currently underway.

“As you may have read, we’re also in talks with Google and resuming discussions with Facebook for a deal, which if concluded, will provide a further guaranteed annuity-type payment that will underpin our journalism and further drive the evolution of our business,” Mr Marks wrote.

“Overall, these are results to be extremely proud of. We’ve had innumerable challenges thrown our way these past 12 months, but we’ve come out even stronger on the other side.”

The company told shareholders it intends to pay a dividend of 5 cents per share, fully franked and payable April 20, 2021.

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Nine’s half-yearly results at a glance

Group EBITDA: $355.4 million

Net profit after tax: $186.9 million

Dividends per share (cents): 5.0

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