February 18, 2019 / 10:31 PM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's Seven West Media's first-half profit falls as advertising rev declines

(Adds details on advertising revenue, cost target, background)

Feb 19 (Reuters) - Australian free-to-air television broadcaster Seven West Media Ltd said on Tuesday its half-year net profit fell 13.8 percent as stringent cost-saving measures failed to offset a fall in advertising revenue.

Net profit came in at A$86.2 million ($61.44 million) for the six months ended Dec. 30, compared with A$100 million a year ago.

Seven West said half-year revenue fell 1.5 percent from a year ago.

The company’s advertising revenue, which accounts for a majority of its revenue, fell 3.2 percent to A$595.2 million during the period.

Half-yearly printing and digital advertising revenue slumped 11.6 percent.

Like other broadcasters and newspapers around the world, Australia’s traditional media companies are fighting an uphill battle to cut costs, diversify revenue sources and increase content offerings as advertisers increasingly flock to online giants for exposure.

Seven West, which has aggressively maneuvered to reduce debt through a string of measures, including freezing dividends last year, increased its FY’19 cost reduction target to A$20 million to A$40 million from A$20 million to A$30 million

The company did not declare a dividend for the period and said that dividend payments remained suspended.

$1 = 1.4029 Australian dollars Reporting by Rashmi Ashok and Mensholong Lepcha in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter Cooney

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