Regional advertisers lack confidence, says Prime chief executive Ian Audsley. Photo: Rob HomerPrime Media Group has warned that poor advertising conditions at the start of the financial year have seen the regional broadcaster take a hit to its ad revenue so far in 2016.

Prime’s total advertising revenue over the two months of the financial year fell 6.9 per cent compared with 2015, and the company said that September, which has four trading days left, “looks similarly disappointing”.

“There is a lack confidence among regional advertisers due to poor consumer sentiment, which in turn has resulted in a very short market with limited visibility,” Prime chief executive Ian Audsley said.

“Markets dependent on mining activity are the most affected, particularly regional Western Australia.”

Mr Audsley said that while KPMG industry data is not available yet, Prime’s local advertising revenue declined 9.6 per cent in the first two months of the 2016 financial year.

Prime’s national agency revenue for northern NSW, southern NSW and regional Victoria fell 2.6 per cent, compared with a market decline of 3.4 per cent, according to Standard Media Index data, Mr Audsley said.

“The national agency revenue result is disappointing, particularly given that metropolitan TV’s national agency revenue grew by 2 per cent in July and was back only 0.7 per cent in August. September is somewhat impacted by the AFL Grand Final being scheduled in October this year,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the decline in national agency spend, Prime has maintained its revenue share lead.”

Prime chairman John Hartigan said all regional broadcasters are facing significant challenges as a result of “the communications revolution in which we find ourselves.”

“We have been telling the Government for quite some time now that regulatory reform is urgently needed. We are hopeful that Prime Minister Turnbull, who in his previous role as Minister for Communications had a deep understanding of our issues, will continue to support the reform of out-dated rules and regulations,” Mr Hartigan said.

The company will provide the market with another trading update and outlook at its annual general meeting on November 10.

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