Media Prima saw a 19% dip in its traditional advertising revenue for the first half of its 2019 financial year (H1 2019) ended 30 June. The decline was part partially mitigated by growth in group commerce revenue led by Media Prima’s home shopping segment, CJ WOW SHOP, according to the financial statement. CJ WOW SHOP remains on the upswing with revenue rising 19% RM114.3 million in H1 2019 compared to RM96.0 million during the same period last year.
Overall, the company posted a 14% dip in revenue to RM535.9 million in H1 2019, amid challenging economic and operating conditions which impacted the group as a whole. Meanwhile, the group recorded a loss after tax of RM53.6 million compared to a profit after tax of RM8.7 million in H1 2019.
Although group digital revenue for H1 2019 declined marginally by 3% against the corresponding period, Media Prima said it remained “a strong player” in the digital realm following the acquisition of new digital brands and democratisation of its content on digital platforms. According to the financial statement the group continues to rank third in Malaysia, after Google and Facebook, in terms of digital audience reach and has maintained its leadership position for content on mobile devices in Malaysia with 13.5 million monthly unique visitors.
During the first six months of 2019, Media Prima continued to expand digital and commerce capabilities across all platforms to better capture opportunities and stay ahead of emerging trends. Big Tree, its OOH advertising segment, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year by promoting multiple sales packages to boost the adoption of integrated OOH to clients. This includes its offline to online OOH solution, Big+, which has successfully secured clients from various industries, such as fashion and apparel, since its launch earlier this year.
On the digital front, Big Tree recorded a high occupancy rate of 85% for its digital OOH inventory in H1 2019. This represents a 5% point increase from 80% in the comparative period, Media Prima said.
In content creation and distribution, Primeworks Studios expanded its sales into new territories and digital platforms. Primeworks Studios also announced new film releases for this year and 2020 which includes action film Sangkar, Rock 4, Ejen Ali the Movie and J Retribusi.
Recently, Media Prima Digital entered into another partnership with global digital media company Ziff Davis to operate IGN Southeast Asia for entertainment and gaming fans in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines. IGN covers topics including games, movies, entertainment and fan culture. The partnership follows a similar agreement in September 2018 between Ziff Davis and REV Asia Holdings for Mashable Southeast Asia.
According to the financial statement, Media Prima Digital will continue to invest resources into its games and esports division and expand this segment regionally through partnerships. The group believes that advertising revenue will grow rapidly in this segment.
Meanwhile the New Straits Times Press’ online brands, My Metro, BH Online and NST Online, continue to rank among the top news sites for Malaysians with 10.2 million, 7.4 million and 3.6 million monthly average users respectively, the financial statement read. Media Prima Television Networks also maintained its dominant broadcast position in Malaysia with a 36.1% total audience share, an increase from 34.7% in the corresponding period.
Datuk Syed Hussian Aljunid, group chairman of Media Prima, said he group’s first half results reflect the challenges affecting media companies worldwide.
Amid unfavourable economic conditions that increasingly affects advertising expenditure, particularly for our traditional businesses, the group improved its second quarter results against Q1 2019. We are encouraged by the outcome of our efforts and barring unforeseen circumstances, the group expects to keep this momentum in the remaining quarters of the financial year,” he said.
Datuk Kamal Khalid (pictured), group managing director of Media Prima, added that the group continues to focus on managing costs and has during the first six months reduced operating expenses by 11% against the comparative period.
“We will continue to identify areas of improvement with a view to become a media organisation better equipped to capitalise on opportunities and confront challenges in the new era dominated by digital,” he added.