Add more content here...
June, 2024

Nikki Clarkson departs SCA, more redundancies expected

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) has confirmed the departure of Chief Marketing Officer, Nikki Clarkson, ahead of a number of redundancies imminent at the media network.

It’s the latest bloodshed across the mainstream media this week, coming amid hundreds of job losses across News Corp, Seven West Media and now, Nine.

Clarkson first joined the network as head of marketing and communications in 2008, and was elevated into the CMO role four years ago. The role covered a diverse mix of stations and products including 99 stations nationally under the Triple M and Hit brands, 10 DAB stations, on-demand audio offerings such as PodcastOne Australia, plus the more recent LiSTNR app, which debuted in early 2021.

SCA CEO John Kelly credited Clarkson with playing a significant role in shaping the LiSTNR brand during her tenure as CMO.

“Nikki has made an extraordinary contribution to SCA over her highly successful career journey. She is a fiercely passionate leader, a highly respected member of the SLT and an exceptional strategic and creative marketer who has played a pivotal role in building our brands to be highly recognisable and loved in Australian households and transforming our marketing team into a data led, performance based group of experts. In recent times, the most outstanding work Nikki and the team have done is in building and growing the LiSTNR brand,” he said.

Clark said she would miss working with Kelly and the rest of the SCA team, and wished the business all the best in the future.

“I am grateful for my time at SCA, which has given me some of the most wonderful experiences and career opportunities, including the CMO role. It has been a privilege to lead the marketing of mighty brands such as Triple M and The Fox and to see the team transform in the way it has to build LiSTNR from scratch, to the success it is today, is inspiring,” she said.

An SCA spokesperson did not respond to questions about further redundancies at SCA, which Mi3 understands are imminent. Clarkson is understood to be most senior layoff in the mix.

Clarkson’s departure comes less than 48 horus after SCA ditched conversations with Australian Community Media (ACM) about an ambitious proposal that could have seen the pair come together as one unified TV and radio broadcaster. First revealed on 28 May, ACM chief, Antony Catalano, told Mi3 this week a deal with SCA, would have seen combined revenues approaching $700m, with close to $100m in EBITDA and cost out efficiencies which would add another $30m in earnings, propelling the group to a top three media company on a profit basis.

But it was not meant to be. In its ASX statement, SCA said the decision to walk away from a deal that would have involved it acquiring a portfolio of print and digital news publications plus ACM’s agriculture division wouldn’t create sufficient value for shareholders.

“ACM’s digital and regional capabilities and content hold some attraction for SCA. However, SCA has concluded that the relevant assets do not align with SCA’s audio-focused strategy and would not create value for SCA shareholders,” the statement read. “The SCA Board therefore considers it would not be in the best interests of SCA shareholders to pursue ACM’s proposal.

SCA left its guidance provided on 15 May 2024 for the full financial year to 30 June 2024 unchanged.

Yet Clarkson’s departure, amidst a month that’s seen up to 430 jobs go across News Corp, Seven West Media and Nine already, is another ominous warning on the precarious economic headwinds hitting the traditional media landscape.

Today, Nine confirmed 200 jobs are on the chopping block across publishing, digital and broadcast in a bid to manage costs. Earlier this week, Seven West Media confirmed between 100-150 jobs were being made redundant, with three of its most senior executives – chief revenue officer, Kurt Burnette, chief marketing and audience officer, Mel Hopkins, and head of sport and MD Victoria, Lewis Martin, among sweeping cuts across the ASX-listed business.

The cuts come as news publishers stare down the loss of millions in annual payments from Meta made under the Federal Government’s News Media Bargaining Code in 2021. It is estimated these were providing $70m in annual funding to news outlets in Australia. The decision has been blasted by the Government, which is taking a tough line against Meta’s decision – Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, labelling it “a dereliction of its commitment to the sustainability of Australian news media”.