Numbers dip from $208 to $78 million

MONTREAL — Profits dipped bigtime last year for the main private Canuck TV networks, according to a report from federal broadcast regulator the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Profits before interest and taxes at the Canadian webs — CTV, Global and the stations owned by Chum TV — dropped from C$242 million ($208 million) in 2005 to $78 million in 2006,due mainly to a major increase in expenditures, notably foreign programming. The Canadian networks buy virtually all their foreign programming from Hollywood.

Expenditures rose by 7.8% while the nets’ revenues remained pretty much the same.

Expenses increased from $1.6 billion in 2005 to $1.7 billion in 2006, with a 10% jump in spending for Canadian and foreign programming. Network spending on non-Canadian fare surged 12.2% to $592 million last year from $528 million in 2005.

The increase in spending for homegrown fare was not nearly as dramatic. The webs increased their expenditure on Canadian programming 6.3% to $537 million from $505 million in 2005.

Nets spent $64 million on Canadian drama and $87 million on Canadian general-interest programming. In other Canuck programming purchases, they spent $282 million on news, $57 million on other information programming, $30 million for musical and variety shows, $8 million for sports programming and $4.9 million on game shows.

Revenue from the sale of local advertising increased 3.4% to $323 million, but national ad sales for the networks remained stagnant at $1.3 billion.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more