Astral boasts third-quarter gains

Reports earnings of $42.7 mil through May 31

TORONTO -- A soft economy hasn't slowed Canadian broadcaster Astral Media, which posted sharply higher third-quarter earnings on increased TV ad sales Thursday.

Montreal-based Astral recorded earnings of CAN$43.2 million ($42.7 million) on revenue of CAN$233 million ($230 million) for the three months through May 31, compared with earnings of CAN$35.8 million on revenue of CAN$169.3 million in 2007, before Astra's acquisition of Standard Radio last October.

Astral CEO Ian Greenberg said that the 21% rise in earnings came against an "Increasingly challenging economic environment."

Greenberg told analysts during a conference call that Astral was ramping up a marketing campaign to maintain and possibly increase revenue in the core TV and radio segments despite a soft advertising market.