Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media announced today that it has entered into a long-term partnership with Google to provide news content to the Google Showcase product, which launched in Australia in early February.
The agreement, which will be subject to executing a long-form agreement within the next 30 days, was announced as part of the company’s financial results, which revealed that the troubled media company has enjoyed a solid improvement in its financial position as cost cutting and asset sales saw its finances noticeably improve.
A slight upturn in ad spending and its 2020 AFL broadcast contract saw earnings return, but there’s no interim dividend for shareholders, led by Stokes’ Seven Group Holdings.
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The company’s interim financial results, released Monday morning, revealed that the company repaid $150 million of its $750 million drawn down debt. The debt repayment has reduced the amount Seven has to find in 2022 to repay to its banks, led by the ANZ, to two tranches of $300 million each, one on July of next year and the final in December. But it means there will not be any dividends for shareholders until 2023 at the earliest.
Seven reported pre-tax earnings of $151.7 million, up 29% on the figure for the six months to December 2019 (pre-COVID). Underlying net profit after tax (excluding significant items) was $86.6 million, an increase of 26.5% on the previous year.
Seven Plus and 7News delivered strong revenue gains off small bases, compared to the previous period, but West Australian newspapers remain a headache. Revenue fell 14.4% but a 24% hack into costs improved the bottom line.
Private Media, the parent company of Crikey, is a current participant of the Google Showcase program. Content from Crikey and other Private Media brands will be featured on Showcase as part of a commercial partnership.