Canada's pubcasters went south in 2007

Weak ad market blamed for declining revenue

TORONTO -- A weak TV advertising market in 2007 led Canada's public broadcasters to experience declining revenue for the first time in a decade, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday.

Canadian pay and cable channels, by contrast, posted impressive revenue gains in 2007.

The government statistics agency said that non-commercial conventional broadcasters, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., saw revenue fall 5.3% to CAN$1.26 billion ($1.24 billion) in 2007, compared with a year-earlier CAN$1.33 billion.

Private conventional broadcasters, which depend on U.S. network series, last year eked out a 1.1% revenue gain to CAN$2.18 billion ($2.14 billion).

Despite the soft advertising market, Canadian pay TV networks saw revenue climb 13.5% to CAN$547.4 million ($537 million) in 2007, while domestic cable channels saw their year-to-year revenue rise 8% to CAN$2.17 billion ($2.13 billion).

"The weak performance of conventional television compared with pay and specialty television is part of a strong long-term trend," Statscan concluded.