Cathy O’Connor on what oOh!media financial results means for OOH sector

oOh!media - sustainability pay equity Cathy O'Connor

• Plus: How divesting from Junkee Digital Publishing affected the company

oOh!media Limited has announced its half-year financial results ending on 30 June 2022. The company leveraged audience growth across its key out-of-home formats to deliver a 10% increase in revenue to $276.1 million.

Earnings continued to grow faster than revenue, with adjusted underlying EBITDA increasing by 62% on the prior corresponding period to $51.5 million.

The report also saw a 37% decline in net debt from 31 December 2021 and a corresponding reduction in its gearing ratio to 0.4 times. As a result, the company declared an interim dividend of 1.5 cents per share fully franked.

The Company has also announced an on-market share buyback of up to 10% of its issued share capital, approximately $75 million, expected to commence in September 2022.

Read More: oOh!media delivers strong half-year 2022 financial results

Mediaweek caught up with oOh!media’s CEO Cathy O’Connor about what these results mean for the company. 

“It’s really about the out-of-home sector continuing to grow and gather momentum,” said O’Connor. “We obviously have a large part of our business that is road, retail, and street furniture. These road-based formats are all really firing now above 2019 levels and that’s driving our growth. We saw a lot of momentum in Q4 last year and it’s really continued into 2022.

“Some of the things that are driving growth are measurement and MOVE 1.5 which is getting new interest from agencies and clients in the sector. In Q2, the usage of MOVE was up 41% year on year. That speaks to a sector that is having a look at experimenting and finding ways to use out-of-home to advocate for out-of-home.”

O’Connor said that while the out-of-home sector is bouncing back in general, oOH!media is also using a lot of innovation to allow for the financial results that were reported.

We launched our in-house creative services unit Poly and that’s had strong advertiser interest, driving products like 3D anamorphic video, which we have exclusively and working with advertisers on new ways to use digital. Programmatic is also growing as a percentage of total sector revenue.”

When asked about the company’s reduced debt, O’Connor said that it came down to operating leverage in the business.

“In a business which is largley fixed costs, once you hit a level of revenue growth to the extent that you can capitalise on that leverage and come through top-line gains to profit – that’s incredibly important. ”

When asked where she expects to see the most growth, O’Connor said that they are seeing growth in all their products.

“I wouldn’t want to elevate one over the other because they’re all unique in what they offer. It’s definitely been a roadmap recovery, the growth of our populations, the growth of city commuter times. The large format out-of-home is a trend we’re seeing globally.”

Talking about the buyback announced by oOh!media, O’Connor said that it showed confidence in the business.

“The board said they would look at capital management strategies, and with the increased cash generation of the business and the strength of the balance sheet, it was time to return some of that value to shareholders.”

Moving on from Junkee

This is the first full financial result since oOh!media divested from Junkee Digital Publishing which it sold to the RACAT Group in December of 2021. O’Connor said that this contributed to the strong results due to it allowing oOh!media to focus on where its value is – out-of-home advertising.

“We sold that business to a content company that can better run its portfolio and meet its needs as a content business. We retained the creative team which was a profitable business on the digital publishing side. The importance and the trading benefit for us was that creative product. It was the right move for us, given our priorities as an out-of-home business. We’ve got now all of the resources that we need to really drive our creative strategy and start to engage more advertisers.”

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