James Warburton: Seven’s pitch to advertisers a lot stronger for 2022

Seven West Media

‘Seven will be the indisputable, undeniable and unbeatable #1 performer in all major demos’

After Monday’s announcements to the ASX from Seven West Media and Prime Media about Seven’s new bid for Prime, Seven West Media chief executive James Warburton offered some further detail to Mediaweek

“The addition of Prime Media strengthens our appeal for advertisers as we head toward the ratings crown of 2021,” said Warburton. “Being able to offer advertisers a single national platform is highly attractive for Seven West Media shareholders.

“We are going to win total people, we are likely to win under-40, and we are winning 40+.

When you add the regional markets to Seven’s metro performance, to get a national perspective, we are #1 in total people and #1 in every single demographic.

“Prime’s performance in regional markets is exceptionally dominant and a lot of that comes from running their local news which then flows through to the rest of the schedule.”

Warburton noted they can’t talk about the ratings impact on this year too much with the transaction not due to complete in December. He added, “There is a $90m prize for us to get back to the #1 position in revenue in metro markets.”

“As we head into 2022 Seven will be selling the indisputable, undeniable and unbeatable #1 performer in all major demos.

People will be able to buy that national reach with one phone call. We are one of the only countries in the world where you have to make six calls to buy three signals.

“A one-stop-shop simplicity of buy will be an absolute game-changer. We are doing work around automated trading that will make this crucially important for clients and media buyers.”

When asked about the previous bid for Prime Media, Warburton told Mediaweek he understands both businesses better now. “We also didn’t have much money and a crippling debt. The previous offer was all script with some of the key shareholders voting against it.

“This time around it is all cash with 26c of franking credits. It’s now a very good deal at a very good price.

To close the deal Seven needs 50% of shareholders and they already have indications of support from 43% of shareholders. Supporting to deal so far are Bruce Gordon (11%) and Antony Catalano (23%). Seven had 43% support for the first bid without those two, making the likelihood of this deal passing very strong.

Warburton is not getting ahead of himself though: “Never say never, but it looks like passing.”

James Warburton with Seven CFO Jeff Howard

James Warburton on national reach

With Seven holding the rights to three of the four biggest sports – cricket, AFL and Supercars – what it can offer both advertisers and rights holders is strengthened.

As past performance indicates, our suite of programs are very well suited to regional markets. The AFL in particular is as dominant in regional markets as it is in metro markets.”

As the weekend ratings showed, Supercars perhaps over indexes in regional markets.

News a key pillar for Seven and Prime

“Prime has 18 months to go on its current program supply arrangement with Seven,” said Warburton. “There is a huge news service with over 50 bulletins on Prime plus all of the ones we run in regional Queensland.

“There is a big news commitment, and we are massive believers in news with very strong brands from Sunrise and The Morning Show to Seven News.”

Seven Upfront

Seven’s 2022 schedule

Warburton on metro 2021 ratings

“Excluding the Olympics we cannot be beaten in total people. 25-54 is Nine’s. Under 40 we think we will win and 40+ we will win.

“We have also dominated with 7plus. We think there is a huge upside for 7plus which hasn’t really been promoted in regional markets.”

As to Nine claims that Seven is the refuge for viewers 65+, Warburton said “they are absolutely kidding themselves”.

Warburton said the next move for Seven West Media will not “necessarily be about future M&A, but sweating the [existing] assets.”

See also: Seven announces second attempt to acquire Prime Media

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