Canadian TV Ad Recovery Revives Broadcasters

Canadian advertisers driven away by the recession are returning in better times to help conventional broadcasters climb back into the profit column.

TORONTO – Canadian broadcasters are profitable again, and pulling in the ad dollars.

Brought low by the recent recession, private conventional broadcasters collectively followed up a pre-tax loss of $116.6 million in 2009 with a pre-tax profit of $15.5 million in 2010, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) reported Thursday.

Revenue for the ad-driven major networks, including CTV and Global Television, was up 9 percent to $2.15 billion in the year to August 31, 2010, according to the industry watchdog.

Most of that revenue line, or around $1.6 billion, came from national air-time sales as Canadian advertisers are back in strength wrapping commercials round primetime offerings like American Idol, House and Glee.

And with Canadian premium cable networks continuing to add subscribers, even during the depths of the recession, domestic pay and cable channel broadcasters were even more profitable last year, according to the CRTC.

The regulator said Canadian pay and specialty services saw overall revenue jump 11 percent to $3.46 billion in 2010, with cable subscriptions accounting for $1.58 billion of that total, on top of $1.09 billion in national advertising sales.

And cable and pay TV channels saw pre-tax profits in 2010 come to $877.3 million, up 25 percent from a year-earlier $728.6 million.   

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