Macquarie Radio Network has boosted its annual earnings by almost 60 per cent after outperforming the radio advertising market.MRN today reported an annual net profit of $5.73 million for 2005/06, up 57 per cent, in its first year as a publicly-listed company.

The operator of the East-coast based 2GB and 2CH radio stations said it had outperformed the Sydney radio advertising market and increased market share.

“We have outperformed the radio advertising revenue market for 2H06 (second half of fiscal 2006), and reduced our costs to ensure increased profitability,” MRN chairman Max Donnelly said.

“Appropriately, 2GB’s dominance all year and 2CH’s consistent ratings, combined with our focus on improved sales, has seen MRN secure a larger share of radio advertising dollars.”

MRN’s revenue performance in the second half was stronger than in the first, despite a deterioration in the Sydney radio advertising market.

MRN said 2GB was the number one Sydney radio station in terms of both revenue and ratings in 2005/06, and had increased its lead to the biggest by a station in 10 years.

Mr Donnelly said the broadcaster was investing for the future and increasingly viewed itself as a content business, with enormous potential to leverage existing and new content across multiple platforms.

“Initial investments in our websites, podcasting, video podcasting and streaming content to mobile phones are generating new income streams for the business,” he said.

“We anticipate further revenue growth in these areas.

“Further investment will be made in these new media opportunities in 2007.”

Revenue excluding contra, a non-cash revenue where airtime is exchanged for goods and services, increased 1.5 per cent in the 12 months to June 30, 2006.

Including contra, overall revenue was $41.75 million, a 0.59 per cent decrease on the previous year.

MRN attributed the decrease to a deliberate reduction in advertising contra to $445,000 in fiscal 2006 from $1.31 million in 2004/05.

The company said significant cost savings had been achieved, with expenses decreasing 7.8 per cent, including contra, and 5.6 per cent, excluding contra.

MRN declared a final dividend of 3.5 cents a share, resulting in total dividends for the year of six cents a share.