Seven West (ASX: SWM) share price jumps 4% amid return to free-to-air dominance

Here’s what was said at Seven West’s annual general meeting today…

| More on:
Happy family watching Netflix together.

Image source: Getty Images

The Seven West Media Ltd (ASX: SWM) share price is in the green today after the company’s bosses outlined its strong performance through financial year 2021 (FY 2021).

The company’s managing director and CEO James Warburton also provided the market with a positive trading update and outlook for financial year 2022 (FY 2022).

Meanwhile, Seven West chair Kerry Stokes called on the Federal Government to commit to additional regulation.

At the time of writing, the Seven West share price is 56.2 cents, 4.17% higher than its previous close.

Let’s take a look at Seven West’s annual general meeting today.

Seven West’s strong FY 2021

The Seven West share price is surging higher after its chair, Kerry Stokes, announced the company’s free-to-air television network has been boosted back into the most dominant position.

Over FY 2021, the Seven network was the most-watched free-to-air television channel in Australia. On top of that, its 7Plus streaming service reached 10 million viewers. Stokes stated:

Seven Network achieved this extraordinary success on the back of marquee sports events, including the Tokyo Olympics, the AFL and, in particular, its finals season, and the summer of cricket.

The combination of our premium sports programming with our continuing dominance of news and current affairs, as well as a refreshed programming schedule, were keys to our success.

The company’s The West newspaper also outperformed over FY 2021.

Stokes expects such enthusiasm for its content will continue into FY 2022, and so far it has. Since the start of FY 2022, the company’s television audience share has gained another 4.3% – or 1.4% excluding its coverage of the Olympics.

Finally, Stokes commended the Federal Government for “finally act[ing] to partly arrest the damage caused by foreign multi-nationals in the Australian media sector”.

However, he called for greater commitment to regulating the prominence of free-to-air services on all televisions. He also pushed for the government to extend the anti-siphoning list to include online streaming services.

According to Stokes, doing so will ensure audiences free access to Australian news, sport, and entertainment.

What’s next for Seven West?

The Seven West share price might also be being boosted by a positive outlook from Warburton. He noted Seven is expected to win 40% of the metro TV advertising market in the current 6-month period.

Since the start of this financial year, 7plus’ revenue has increased 145%. The company’s also on track to deliver between $15 million and $20 million of saving this financial year.

It expects to exceed analysts’ forecast for FY 2022’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of around $260 million by between 7% and 10%. That prediction excludes benefits from the newly acquired Prime Media Group Limited (ASX: PRT).

Finally, Seven West expects Seven’s digital earns to more than double this financial year to $120 million. One of the reasons for the outlook is the company’s agreements with Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) over payment for news content.

FY 2022 will see Seven broadcasting the Commonwealth Games and the Winter Olympics. It will also be airing the Ashes Test series, BBL and WBBL, and the Bathurst 1000.

However, Warburton warned shareholders not to be too excited just yet:

While we have revitalised the schedule in record time, it’s worth remembering that revenue share growth lags ratings improvement…

While you cannot ‘flick a switch’ when it comes to building audience numbers, the investment in our content is clearly paying dividends – and in record time.

Seven West share price snapshot

Over FY 2021, the Seven West share price gained a whopping 410%, increasing from 9.1 cents to 46.5 cents.

It has increased by another 21% since the start of FY 2022.

Should you invest $1,000 in Seven West Media right now?

Before you consider Seven West Media, you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Seven West Media wasn't one of them.

The online investing service he’s run for over a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of January 13th 2022

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended Alphabet (A shares) and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Meta Platforms, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

More on Communication Shares