Canadian Broadcaster Bullish on 2012 Ad Revenue, Despite Slowing Economy

2011 Harpo Inc.

Corus Entertainment told analysts marquee cable channels like OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, ABC Spark and HBO Canada should keep the ad train steaming ahead in the current fiscal year to August 31, 2012.

WHISTLER, B.C. - 'Tis the season for advertisers to stop spending in a slowing economy?

John Cassaday, president and CEO of Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment, doesn’t think so.

Cassaday told analysts that local versions of U.S. channels Corus operates north of the border, including OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, ABC Spark, Nickelodeon, Sundance Channel and HBO Canada, has the ad train steaming ahead nicely at the Toronto-based radio and TV broadcaster.

“That may be the headline this morning, because I think coming out of Q4 there were some questions in people's mind about whether that train had slowed," he said.

"We saw continued momentum on our specialty ad sales in Q1, despite what you read and heard and maybe suspected given the economic conditions that we're in,” Cassaday added.

That optimism has Corus projecting earnings for fiscal 2012 at between $300 million and $310 million, and free cash flow in excess of $125 million.

Canada absorbed the shocks of the 2008 financial meltdown better than the U.S. and European markets, but will not be insulated from the impact of a possible double-dip recession elsewhere.

Cassaday conceded to analysts that Canadian advertisers are prudent in uncertain economic conditions, and that softness had already been experienced on the radio ad front.

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