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Expenses eat into Canuck TV coin

Pre-tax profit dips 40%

TORONTO — Expenses are climbing while investment in Canuck drama is down, according to Wednesday’s report from the broadcast regulator on the fiscal state of Canuck commercial terrestrial TV.

During 2003-04, revenues at Canada’s 95 commercial TV stations were up 1% to C$2.105 billion ($1.694 billion), said the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission.

Operating income was up 5% to $1.441 billion, but pre-tax profit dipped by a dizzying 40%, to $91.1 billion, as programming expenses as a percentage of revenue and operating expenses climbed 5.8% and 5% respectively. The higher costs bit into the stations’ profit, taking it from 18.25% to 14.92%.

And while spending on local programming jumped 5.8% to $463.2 million, investment in homegrown drama and comedy fell 13.1% to $69.6 million. Broadcasters spent more on reality programming, however, upping the coin to human-interest programs by 57.5% to $65.5 million.

Local ad sales climbed 6.1% to $293 million, while national advertising revenues dipped by 1.5% to $1.165 billion. The shift could be due to satellite TV, which carries the signal of some local stations across the country. Savvy media buyers get better bang for their buck by picking up a local station in an Atlantic time zone.

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