Corus profits up on Canuck ad spend revival

First quarter earnings jump 82% to $71.3 million

TORONTO -- Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment saw its first quarter revenue and earnings rise on "advertising sales momentum" and one-time items.

Corus, which has come through the economic downturn better than most rivals, saw first quarter earnings jump 82% to CAN$73.9 million ($71.3 million), against CAN$41 million a year earlier.

The bottom line was helped by one-time items including a recovery of CAN$14 million ($13.4 million) after favorable income tax changes and a CAN$16 million ($15.4 million) rebate on disputed government regulatory fees.

Total revenue for the three months to Nov. 30 were CAN$222.3 million ($214.3 million), up 3% from a year-earlier CAN$216.8 million.

Corus' struggling radio division posted first quarter revenue of CAN$71 million ($68.4 million), against CAN$75.5 million in 2008, while TV revenue was up to CAN$151.2 million ($145.5 million) during the latest quarter, against a year-earlier CAN$141.2 million.

Corus executives told analysts during a morning conference call that they saw signs of a pick-up in ad spending on both the TV and radio side as the Canadian economy emerges from the recent recession.

The broadcasters' properties include kids cable channels like YTV and Treehouse, female-skewing niche services W Network, CosmoTV and VIVA, and pay TV properties Movie Central and HBO Canada.
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