By Sally Rawsthorne
• CEO Michael Miller on the group’s strengths
“Australian Radio Network has been the standout performer of Australian media in the past 12 months,” APN News and Media CEO Michael Miller told Mediaweek after APN’s Investor Day yesterday.
“Going from #3 network to being clearly the #1 network, we’ve reported today that including the acquisition of Perth’s 96FM our revenues have grown 35% in the first quarter on the back of last year. In a single-digit growth radio market, that’s above many digital players,” he continued.
Miller and his APN senior executives – ARN’s Ciaran Davis, ARM’s Clayton Cook, AdShel’s CFO David Roddick and Emotive’s Simon Joyce – had a big day speaking to investors, media and advertisers. When we asked Miller what the take-home message of the day was, he highlighted the strength in the diversity of the APN portfolio. “APN has evolved a lot in the past 18 months, it’s a very different company now structurally. It’s about what’s next. We talked a lot about what we’re doing with our digital rollout with Adshel, we talked about the integration of our businesses in NZ under one banner – NZME. It’s the leading company for media in NZ. We’ve talked about subscriptions for our regional media business and our belief that quality content should be paid for. Particularly, we’ve talked about the great success that ARN has had over the past 12 months and why it will continue to grow.”
Confidence that consumers will pay for quality content informed the decision to put the ARM content behind a paywall, Miller noted. “In many ways, the Australian market is well conditioned and educated to pay for content.
News Corp and the Fairfax titles are already behind digital subscriptions, it’s not new to them. It’s also just not newspapers, it’s pay television, it’s streaming services, it’s apps, it’s telcos and it’s broadband. If you want quality entertainment, news and sport, then you pay for it.
“In the markets we operate in, we’re definitely the leading news source for community content. Often, we’re the only news source. Our experience in looking at US markets is that consumers pay for quality content, particularly if it’s unique and exclusive.”