×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Profits for CanWest head north

Canada's largest media company has eventful year

CanWest Global Communications, Canada’s largest media company, is rounding off an eventful year with an uptick in fiscals thanks to gains from the sale of some assets, as it awaits a crucial regulatory hearing into its purchase of Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Net income for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31 was C$197 million ($209 million,) up 27%, on revenue up 11% at $720 million.

“All our operations showed marked improvement over the previous year,” said prexy and CEO Leonard Asper, with Canadian TV maintaining audience share versus its competitors.

During the quarter the Winnipeg-based company enjoyed gains of $267 million on the sale of its New Zealand media assets and its Canadian radio operations as well as another $174 million last year on the sale of TV3 Ireland.

In August CanWest closed its agreement, in partnership with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, to acquire the broadcasting assets of Alliance Atlantis Communications for about $1.6 billion, pending regulatory approval. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is skedded to begin its hearing into the deal on Nov. 19.

Unions repping CanWest employees are expected to picket the hearing, after the company announced in October that it is pink-slipping 200 newsgathering staff. The unions complain that the layoffs are part of cost-saving squeeze the company will increasingly rely on to pay for the AAC purchase and to cut its $3.8 billion debt.

They also oppose the AAC deal, in which GS contributed $509 million compared to CanWest’s $278 million (with the remainder of the $1.6 billion being borrowed), saying it gives foreigners effective control of the company, something that runs contrary to Canadian law.

CanWest reported that, on an unaudited basis, Alliance Atlantis’ pay TV operations reported revenue of $341 million for the year, up 9%, with bottom line profits of $107 million, “before corporate costs allocations and non-recurring items,” up 7%.

Brass told investors in a conference call that despite a soft fourth quarter for TV revenue, (which it blamed primarily on a later fall launch than last year), CanWest is continuing to gain ground.

In addition to increasing audience numbers in the 18-49 year demo, Asper described the rebranding of CanWest’s second Canadian terrestrial network, CH as E! as an unmitigated success.

“The television season launched to excellent results,” he said. “We really are in a dead heat with CTV in key markets.”

For the year, CanWest’s bottom line profit was $296 million, up from $190 million a year ago on revenue of $3.037 billion, up 7%.

Publishing revenue was up 2% at $1.362 billion, while revenue from Canadian TV climbed 4% to $724 million, as the company continues its aggressive pursuit of rival CTV for audience share with buys like “Survivor,” “House,” “Prison Break” and “Heroes.”

In Australia, the company’s Network Ten contributed $217 million to CanWest’s consolidated operating profit, up 4% from a year ago, thanks primarily to a firming of the TV ad market down under.

More Biz

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Head

    Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Global Head of Corporate Communications

    Amanda Collins has been named executive vice president and global head of corporate communications for Sony Music Entertainment, effective immediately, it was announced today by CEO Rob Stringer. According to the announcement, in this role she will be responsible for the company’s global internal and external communications strategy and its implementation around the world, working [...]

  • Trocadero

    Philadelphia’s Iconic Trocadero Theatre to Close, Owner Confirms (EXCLUSIVE)

    After several days of rumors and a last-minute attempt by local promoters to save it, Philadelphia’s Trocadero Theatre — part of the city’s entertainment skyline since 1870 — is closing at the end of May, owner Joanna Pang confirms to Variety. The last of the city’s mid-sized independent live venues, the 1,200-capacity Chinatown performance palace [...]

  • FilMart: China's Times Vision Steps Into

    FilMart: Arthouse Distributor Times Vision Steps Into Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    This year’s FilMart marks the international sales debut of Beijing-based distributor Times Vision, which brings to Hong Kong a slate led by crime thriller “Savage” and animated feature “Nezha.” The company will be presenting nine live action films, including one documentary, and seven animated titles. Times Vision is led by CEO Nathan Hao, who co-founded [...]

  • Kyle MasseyDDJF Costume for a Cause

    Kyle Massey Sued for Allegedly Sending Explicit Photos, Texts to Minor

    Former “That’s So Raven” star Kyle Massey is being sued for allegedly sending explicit photo, texts, and videos to a 13-year-old girl, court documents filed Friday show. The complaint is for intentional infliction of emotional distress, harmful matter sent with intention of seducing a minor, attempting to commit a lewd act with a minor, and [...]

  • Conversant

    Box Office Campaigns: Unlocking Returns Beyond Opening Weekend

    Opening weekend ticket sales have typically been critical to a film’s success or failure, so marketing campaigns tend to focus on driving movie buyers in for that 72-hour timeframe. In fact, studios have nearly abandoned marketing a film past opening weekend. That stems partly from the revenue split on grosses; studios receive the highest percentage [...]

  • Westfield Century City Mall

    LAPD Investigating Suspicious Package at Century City Mall; No Sign of Shooter

    The Westfield Century City mall near Beverly Hills was evacuated Friday afternoon after reports of a man with a gun. The LAPD responded in force, but found no evidence of a shooter or victims, according to the department’s Twitter feed. The call came in at 12:42 p.m. LAPD Officers responded to multiple calls of a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content