Prime Media Group
|Public ASX: PRT|
|Headquarters||Watson, Australian Capital Territory|
|Ian Audsley, CEO
John Hartigan, Chairman
|Revenue||A$278 million (2009)|
Number of employees
|1500 (2009) |
Prime Media Group Limited (formerly Prime Television Limited) is an Australian-based media corporation, owner of regional television network Prime7 in eastern Australia and GWN7 in regional Western Australia. Prime Media Group's primary source of revenue is television advertising revenue, driven by its metropolitan sales teams "Seven Affiliate Sales" servicing major national advertisers.
Prime Television Limited began life in 1970, when mineral explorer Altarama Minerals was incorporated and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Following its movement into the automotive industry, the business changed its name to Altarama Ltd in 1973.
Paul Ramsay gained control of Altarama in 1985, subsequently renaming it once again to Ramcorp Ltd. As part of a diversification into television, advertising, and healthcare, Ramcorp appointed Allan Hoy as founding media CEO who spearheaded the purchase of regional television stations CBN-8 Orange, CWN-6 Dubbo, AMV-4 Albury, and RVN-2 Wagga Wagga in 1987. Soon after, the stations began to be known collectively as The Prime Network.
In the lead-up to television aggregation, Ramcorp signed a 10-year programming affiliation agreement with the Seven Network – the start of a close relationship between the two networks. In 1991 the business changed its name to Prime Television Limited, reflecting its new nature as a television broadcaster in regional Victoria and New South Wales.
Throughout the early 1990s, Ramcorp had incurred significant debts as a result of loans taken out throughout the 1980s in order to expand the company – Ramcorp's healthcare and media interests in Australia and the United States failed to turn a proft, resulting in falling share prices for the business. By 1993, Prime Television made a $7.4 million profit following accumulated losses of $47 million between 1989 and 1991, as well as a further $200 million expanding Prime Television's audience reach to 17%, as part of aggregation.
Prime expanded into Western Australia when it purchased the Golden West Network from current Seven Network owner Kerry Stokes in 1996. At the time, GWN was the monopoly commercial television network in the regional Western Australia license area, however WIN Television, Prime's competitor in parts of New South Wales and Victoria was granted a license by the Australian Broadcasting Authority a year later in 1997.
In the same year, Prime Television expanded internationally with the purchase of the Canal 9 television network in Argentina. Prime paid A$224 million for the network, later renamed Azul Televisión, before selling half of its share to local media group Torneos and Competencias for an undisclosed amount. Azul Televisión performed below expectations, largely due to a global economic crisis, and the Argentine network did not make a profit. Prime Television pulled out of Argentina in 2000, selling their stake for A$108 million.
The network expanded further into New Zealand, with Prime Television New Zealand on 30 August 1998. In 2002, Prime New Zealand went into a joint venture with Australian company Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, owners of the Nine Network. Under the agreement, Prime Television was given access to Nine Network programs, expertise and money. In return, PBL was given the option to acquire 50% of Prime Television New Zealand in 2008. As a result, Prime Television New Zealand's ratings and profits increased significantly. Sky Television purchased Prime NZ for NZ$30 million in November 2005.
The Seven Network purchased 14.9% of Prime Media Group and rumours emerge of an increased stake. Recently, Lachlan Murdoch realised the potential and domainance of the Prime Media Group, taking up an 8% stake.
iPrime was an Australian internet portal produced by Prime Media Group Limited. The portal was deployed across regions in which Prime7 and GWN7 currently broadcast television transmissions, which include the Australian Capital Territory, regional New South Wales, regional Victoria and regional Western Australia.
- Mildura Digital Television (50% share with WIN Corporation)
- TEN West (50% share with WIN Corporation)
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