Nelvana's strong sales helps boost results

MONTREAL — Canuck broadcaster Corus Entertainment posted major-league revenue gains in the second quarter and first six months thanks to strong perfs by its pay TV outlets and radio stations.

Second quarter was the first full frame to include results from Toronto-based animation producer Nelvana, which Corus acquired last November, and Nelvana also saw strong sales in the quarter.

Corus, which is controlled by the Shaw family of Calgary, is one of Canada’s leading specialty-TV players, with holdings that include YTV, Treehouse TV, an 80% stake in Country Music Television, Superchannel and MovieMax.

Revenues for the three-month period ended Feb. 28 surged 225% to C$135 million ($87 million), up from C$41 million ($27 million) in the same period a year earlier. Six-month revenue increased 172% to $163 million, up from $60 million in the first six months of last year.

But net earnings in the second quarter were down to $9 million, compared with $44 million in the second quarter last year. Last year’s earnings included a pre-tax gain of $68 million due to the sale of Corus’ interest in Liberty Digital.

Net earnings for the six months were $18 million, down from $50 million in the same period last year. The earnings in the first six months last year included a pre-tax gain of $75 million from the sale of Corus’ interest in the Headline Sports Television Network and Liberty Digital.

Nelvana generated revenues of $30 million in the quarter.

Key events in the second quarter for Corus included an application to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to increase its stake in animation web Teletoon from 20% to 40% as a result of its acquisition of Nelvana.

‘Sopranos’ sings for Corus

In addition, Corus inked a long-term supply agreement with HBO for pay TV rights to HBO programs, including the second and third seasons of “The Sopranos.”

Following the end of the quarter, Corus made three major deals. On March 8, it sold its 50% in the Family Channel to Astral Media for $82 million and acquired the Women’s Television Network from Moffat Communications for $132 million. Both transactions are subject to CRTC approval. Corus also sold its Viewers Choice pay-per-view service to Shaw Communications for $23 million.

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