Mixed Q4 Results for Canada's Astral Media, Corus Ent.

Astral earnings rise 2%, while Corus' fourth-quarter profit falls on restructuring charges.

TORONTO -- Canadian broadcasters continue to ride an ad recovery to improved revenues and earnings.

Pay and cable channel operator Astral Media on Wednesday reported a 2% rise in fourth-quarter earnings to $45.1 million, against a profit of $44.3 million in 2009 that excludes one-time items.

Montreal-based Astral's overall revenue jumped 9% to $238.4 million, with TV revenue rising to $135 million, against a year-earlier $124.9 million, and radio revenue increasing to $81.3 million, against $76.1 million in 2009.

Astral CEO Ian Greenberg said the fourth quarter "showed encouraging signs of recovery for Canadian advertising markets."

The improved ad climate follows economists continuing to remain optimistic about the Canadian economy as it climbs out of a 2009 downturn.

Rival Corus Entertainment, which also operates pay and cable TV channels and radio stations, saw its fourth-quarter profit fall to $6.8 million on restructuring charges, against a profit of $18.7 million in 2009.

But Toronto-based Corus also pointed to radio and TV ad growth underpinning its bottom line.

"The advertising recovery continued in the fourth quarter, particularly for our specialty assets," Corus CEO John Cassaday said. "This continues a trend we have seen for three successive quarters."

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