Australia's Nine Network Could Lose As Much As $40M On Olympics Broadcast
Australia's Nine Network is "engaged in an eleventh-hour scramble to sell advertising" around the London Games, as the network's "losses on the world event mount in the face of persistently weak advertising markets," according to Darren Davidson of THE AUSTRALIAN. The free-to-air network was staring at a loss of up to $30M, but estimates from media buyers and networks said that Nine "could now be facing a $40M write-off." Nine is selling late packages to media agencies and advertisers in prime-time viewing blocks, a "highly unusual pattern" at this stage of the Olympics cycle. Up against a "weak, short advertising market" that is showing no sign of recovery and is also being felt by rival free-to-air networks Seven and Ten. A leading media buyer said, "A lot of effort went into getting the sponsors on board, expecting the market to be there for the spot stuff. But it's just not there." Aegis Media Pacific Exec Chair Harold Mitchell predicted strong ratings for Nine, which is sharing coverage with pay-TV operator Foxtel, but added that "positive market sentiment from advertisers was absent" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/25).