Struggling Sensis reshuffled by Telstra

Summary:Telstra CEO David Thodey has announce that Sensis will shuffle itself into a new media division, including other business arms, as he revealed that the directory business is struggling with its new online strategy.

Telstra CEO David Thodey has announce that Sensis will reshuffle itself into a new media division, including other business arms, as he revealed that the directory business is struggling with its new online strategy.

David Thodey
(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)

The new Telstra Digital Media division will manage the telco's media capabilities, including Sensis, BigPond, Trading Post, IPTV, Foxtel and other digital content arrangements.

Sensis has been aligned with the media division amidst tough times for the directory business. Thodey said at the company's investor day today that print revenues are falling faster than the company initially expected, while a lower-than-expected take-up of digital listing products was negatively impacting revenue.

"This transition to online is going very quickly, and it's going faster in Sensis than we anticipated. The take-up [of digital] is good, but not as good as we'd originally expected.

"It's quite a difficult sale as a [small and medium business] offering," Thodey revealed. "The revenue percentage decline is going to be in the high teens for the full year, driven by the print business," he added.

John Stanhope, Telstra's outgoing chief financial officer, revealed that part of the problem within Sensis was the matter of a swamped workforce. Stanhope said that the Sensis sales force is being swamped by customers wanting to jump ship from print to online, meaning that staff can't gain new customers quickly, in turn leading to a lower uptake of new customers into the business.

On a positive note, however, Telstra announced that the revenue bleed is likely to be offset by an increased uptake of new fixed-broadband and mobile phone customers. Guidance, Thodey assured, is on track.

Thodey revealed that the digital media business will soon invest around $100 million on building new networks for the transmission of digital media content into all areas of metropolitan and remote Australia.

"As digital media and video content continues to grow, it is important that we build network infrastructure to meet this demand," Thodey said.

"We will also continue to integrate this content, making it available to our customers across multiple channels, including mobiles, tablets, home entertainment systems and the internet."

Current Television New Zealand chief executive Rick Ellis is due to join Telstra in January to head the digital media division.

AAP contributed to this article.

Topics: Telcos, Mobility, SMBs, Tech & Work


A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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