Canada’s Corus sings as black ink returns

Ads fuel company's turnaround as revs hit $110 mil

MONTREAL — Net earnings at Canuck specialty broadcaster Corus Entertainment swung into the black in the third quarter thanks to strong advertising revenue growth for its adult-targeted specialty channels and improved performance at production company Nelvana.

Net earnings for the quarter ended May 31 were $8.8 million, compared to a loss of $1.3 million in the third quarter last year. Revenue for the quarter was $110 million, the same as last year, despite the disposition of selected assets over the past year. On a pro forma basis, revenue was up 7% from the previous year.

Cash flow for the quarter was $31 million, up from $29 million last year.

“We continue to be satisfied that an ad recovery is under way, and we’re on track to deliver on our EBITDA target for the year,” said Corus CEO John Cassaday. “Radio and our adult-targeted television properties all grew nicely in the quarter. Revenue in our kids’ television business was soft, but this was primarily due to timing-related shifts in advertiser spending.”

Corus’ W Network led the Toronto-based company’s television group with a 24% increase in ad sales compared to the same quarter last year. Movie Central, the Corus-owned pay TV service in western Canada, ended the quarter with 648,000 subscribers, up 6% from last year. Corus Television generated revenue of $53 million, down from $57 million a year earlier, mostly thanks to the sale of pay-per-view service Viewer’s Choice last year.

Toon house results animated

Animation production company Nelvana reported better results than last year, with Corus’ content division reporting revenue of $15 million in the quarter, an increase of 9% from last year. Cash flow from the content division was $1 million, up from a loss of $850,000 a year earlier.

Consolidated revenues for the first nine months were $334 million, down from $358 million last year — a result of asset sales. Nine-month net earnings were up 30% to $20 million compared with $15 million the previous year.

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