Photographer: Daniel Allan

technology

Nine Beats Seven in Battle for TV Advertising With Ninja Show

Nine Entertainment Co. got more advertising revenue than rival Seven West Media Ltd. for the first time in more than a decade, and did it with ninjas and a show featuring instant weddings.

Nine’s share of television advertising rose to 40 percent in the six months to Dec. 31 from 36.4 percent in the prior half, Macquarie analysts wrote in a note Thursday, citing ThinkTV data and a report in The Australian newspaper. It’s the first time the network has topped the commercial free-to-air revenue share pool since the first half of 2006, according to Free TV Australia data.

The result “is very humbling and validates our strategic focus on delivering the demographics that matter most to advertisers,” Hugh Marks, chief executive officer at Nine, said in an emailed statement. Seven declined to comment.

It's Taken Over a Decade

Nine got a larger share of TV advertising revenue than Seven in the six months to Dec. 31

Source: Free TV Australia, Macqaurie

The once-struggling media house is starting to turn around. 

It probably lifted its audience share to 38.5 percent from 36 percent last year at Seven and CBS Corp.’s Ten Network’s expense, driven by a sports entertainment show called Australian Ninja Warrior and a reality show featuring people marrying at first sight, Morgan Stanley analysts led by Andrew McLeod wrote in a report last month. “The lift of 2.5 percent has the potential to be very meaningful,” they wrote.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect Nine’s net profit after tax to increase by 9.2 percent in the year to June 30, compared with a 17 percent profit decline at Seven.

That divergence has been reflected in their share prices. Nine’s stock is trading at levels not seen in two years, about a week before it reports half-year earnings, while Seven on Thursday closed at a near record low.

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