“Advertising from pretty much every major advertising category was weak in the September
quarter particularly from auto, Government, domestic banks and gambling,” Mr Marks said.
“And whilst our business has become much less subject to the vagaries of the ad market, this weakness has of course, impacted.”
Over the first quarter, Nine’s metropolitan free-to-air television arm secured a 39.8 per cent of advertising budgets but the overall market shrank by more than 6 per cent.
While there had been early signs of improvement for the second quarter after a flat September, Mr Marks said this had “dissipated in recent weeks”.
“The free-to-air market in the second quarter looks like being down by at least as much as [the first quarter] – we now expect the market to decline by mid-single digits across the full financial year,” he said.
In the year to June 2019, Nine reported revenues of $2.3 billion and group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rising 10 per cent to $424 million.
Nine recently took full control of 2GB and 3AW owner Macquarie Media, where radio advertising has also been hit by softer market conditions. He said this had been “exacerbated … by the advertiser boycott around the Alan Jones’ program on 2GB” but was expecting improved performance from lower costs and higher incremental revenue.
Nine chairman Peter Costello said the year had been “transformational” for the business since its merger with Fairfax Media.
“Our advertising businesses are now in competition with global players like Facebook and Google, who do not have to abide by the same rules and who do not invest in Australian content in the same way we do,” Mr Costello said.
On Monday, real estate portal Domain which is 59 per cent owned by Nine, likened current conditions in the Sydney and Melbourne real estate markets to the 1990s when Australia was last in recession.