Canadian broadcasters, phone giants up in '07

Domestic broadcasters revenue up 6.7%

TORONTO -- Canadian broadcasters and phone giants posted a combined revenue of CAN$51.1 billion ($49.9 billion) in 2007, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission reported Thursday, with basic cable programming emerging as the sweet spot of the Canadian industry.

The CRTC's 2007 performance report said that domestic broadcasters, which include conventional and cable channel broadcasters and cable operators, saw their combined revenue rise 6.7%, or CAN$816.1 million ($797 million), to CAN$13.1 billion ($12.8 billion).

The regulator said that pay-per-view TV and VOD services accounted for most of last year's revenue increase.

Revenue for private conventional TV broadcasters, which depend largely on U.S. network series, jumped 1.3% to CAN$2.2 billion ($2.15 billion) last year, the regulator said.

Telecom revenue was up 5.3%, or CAN$1.9 billion ($1.86 billion), to CAN$38 billion ($37.1 billion). The rise was driven mostly by higher demand for wireless data and high-speed Internet services.

The CRTC survey said that cable giants, especially Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Groupe Videotron, have bitten deeply into the market share of traditional phone giants when it comes to providing local and mobile phone services and high-speed Internet access.

Last year, cable operators provided about 18% of residential phone lines and 40% of subscribers in the mobile phone market.

Cable operators also provided high-speed Internet services to 55% of Canadian subscribers in 2007, the CRTC reported.

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