MONTREAL — In spite of the tough economic times, Canuck pay TV owner Astral Media posted boffo financial results for the fourth quarter and year-end, powered by strong performances from its TV and radio divisions.
Revenue for the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31 was C$230 million ($187 million), up 43% on the same time the previous year. Net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were up 20% to $33 million on cash flow up 47% to $66 million.
Revenue and cash flow were also up for the outdoor advertising business.
Results for the year show revenue up 35% to $705 million. Net earnings from continuing operations for the year were up 19% to $123 million on cash flow up 40% to $236 million.
For the year, revenue in the TV division was up 5% to $405 million and advertising revenue for the TV channels grew 12% to $88 million.
During the year, Astral launched pay channel, Playhouse Disney. It is set to launch pay TV channel HBO Canada on Thursday.
The radio division had revenue growth of 156% to $241 million powered by the integration of the stations it acquired when it bought rival Standard Radio.
Astral CEO Ian Greenberg noted that this is the 12th consecutive year of profitable growth for the Montreal-based company, which owns a slew of pay outlets including the Movie Network, Teletoon and the Family Channel.
Astral is one of the country’s leading pay TV players and one of the few that is dominant in both English and French, and that mix appears to be a winning formula.
“It’s been a very good year,” said Astral VP Alain Bergeron. “There’s no doubt that in the past couple of months there have been some changes in the economy. But as far as the first quarter (of the current year), it looks to be very decent.”