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Pipeline blip causes Alliance Atlantis dip

Lower revenues, earnings caused by dip in production delivery cycle, firm says

TORONTO — Alliance Atlantis posted a significant drop in revenues and earnings for the first quarter of 2001 due to a delivery-cycle dip that analysts say is not a concern in a “lumpy business.”

Revenue for the first quarter ended June 30 was C$109.4 million ($74.1 million), down from $110.6 million for the same quarter a year ago. The drop is caused by a dip in the production delivery cycle, the company said in a release. Just one feature was delivered in the quarter, compared with three in the same quarter a year ago. The TV group delivered 19.5 hours during the quarter compared with 36 hours.

“It’s a lumpy business by quarter,” said a Toronto-based entertainment analyst. “They actually came in slightly above what I was looking for.”

Investment’s effect

Net earnings are down from $4.9 million to $2.1 million for the quarter. The company noted earnings for the first quarter were inflated by the sale of an investment which was not repeated this year. The company’s share price on the Toronto Stock Exchange is down 78¢ to $13.44 on the day.

In April, AAC applied for about a dozen digital network licenses, including ones for independent film and documentaries, the Book Channel, Signature Television, plus other branded channels, such as National Geographic Canada and BBC Canada.

In early July, AAC received a license to launch Food Network Canada, a mix of Canadian programming and programming carried by Food Network in the U.S. Food Net Canada is set to launch in October.

Alliance Atlantis also announced Monday the creation of a reality based show and station called “U8TV” that will be streamed onto the Internet 24 hours a day. Set in a loft that will serve as both studio and home for its host and “cast,” “U8TV” will feature eight Canadians who will create shows for the Web and station, and live their personal and professional “behind-the-scenes” lives on camera. A daily half-hour show will be made from “U8TV” highlights and broadcast on Alliance Atlantis’ specialty channel Life Network as “U8Life.”

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