Ads, sub gains lead Corus Q1

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TORONTO -- Higher TV advertising and subscriber revenue helped Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment on Wednesday to post record first-quarter earnings.

Toronto-based Corus unveiled CAN$39.4 million ($39.3 million) in earnings for the three months through Nov. 30, up 7% from a profit of CAN$36.7 million in 2007.

First-quarter revenue rose 3% to CAN$214.8 million ($214 million), compared with a year-earlier CAN$209.2 million.

Corus' TV division, which includes the W Network and YTV, Canada's kids cable channel, saw revenue rise 3% to CAN$126.1 million ($125.3 million), compared to CAN$122.6 million in 2007. The broadcaster said its cable TV advertising grew 2% and its subscriber revenue growth was up 4%.

Corus CEO John Cassaday told analysts during a morning call that W Network achieved "double-digit" advertising growth, which offset "softness" in air-time sales for kids-themed cable channels, including preschool channel Treehouse.

Corus' radio station business saw revenue rise 5% to CAN$79.5 million ($75.5 million), up 5% from a year-earlier CAN$75.6 million.

Nelvana, Corus' cartoon production unit, saw its revenue fall 19% to CAN$9.6 million ($9.55 million) from CAN$11.7 million in 2007, in part due to the recent surge in the value of the Canadian dollar, which has reduced the payback on U.S. programming sales.

Corus said Tuesday that it has reupped its output deal with MTV Networks International for another five years to now encompass all digital rights for Nickelodeon content.

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