Media’s Big Friday: APN profit downgrade, Scherer to leave Listener, The Nation continues! – more to come

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REGIONAL publisher APN News & Media has spoilt the pre-Christmas party on the market for Australian publishing companies after unveiling a 10 per cent-plus profit downgrade yesterday.

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That’s how The Australian headlined APN’s post market guidance last night that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be $A150 million to $A155m. This figure is 11 per cent below consensus EBITDA forecasts for APN this year, and more than a quarter below its EBITDA last year.

More importantly, net profit is expected to drop by more than a third to between $A51 million and $A54 million in 2012.

The upshot is that APN’s share price – which has risen more than 10 per cent this week to close out yesterday at A31.5c – is expected to fall sharply when markets open today taking Fairfax shares down in its wake.

APN is a major trans-Tasman media company. Its NZ flagship is the NZ Herald. In Australia it owns a string of regional newspapers which have been hit hard by declining ad revenues.

APN chief executive Brett Chenoweth told The Australian the company has felt the “full force of the (advertising) downturn in both Australia and New Zealand” and that ad bookings had been “extremely short”.  Chenoweth also said  APN would continue to drive efficiencies hard and expressed confidence the ad market would come back. On the NZ front, management changes continue apace with another key announcement expected today.

In other news on Media Big Friday,  Karyn Scherer is the latest deputy-editor to leave The Listener under Pamela Stirling’s reign – the sixth since Stirling became editor in 2003. Insiders felt Scherer would be groomed to takeover from Stirling after the talented journalist moved across from the NZ Herald. But this turned out not to be the case.

Scherer is now moving to Warkworth where she is looking at getting involved with a local paper. She is a former editor of The Rotorua Post and was founding editor of The Business which demonstrated strong investigative prowess during her leadership notching up significant journalism awards for APN.

Scherer was – and still is – capable of great things on the editorial front.

Last night’s rumor mill that The Nation has missed out on funding for 2013 from New Zealand on Air’s Platinum Fund was wrong. The Nation is the flagship of Richard Harman’s Frontpage stable.  Under Harman, The Nation produced comprehensive current affairs stories as well as the big interviews. It also cemented host Rachel Smalley as a force to be reckoned with.

NZ on Air’s Jane Wrightson  has since pulled me up on earlier story filed saying The Nation would be axed. It will be funded again.

The Nation’s competitor – TVNZ’s Q&A – is expected to resume again next year but without founding host Paul Holmes who has retired for health reasons and also without producer Tim Watkin who wants his weekends back. No news yet on Holmes replacement but Watkin is expected to move to a new role at TVNZ.

 

 

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    2 comments

    1. Thanks Jane – Last night’s rumor mill clearly wrong. Good call you are keeping both programmes alive.

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