Canadian Pay TV Services Buck Cord-Cutting Trend

Canadian broadcasters Corus Entertainment and Astral Media add pay TV subscribers amid an improved economy.

TORONTO -- Cord cutting in Canada? Not just yet.

Canadian broadcasters on Thursday started unveiling their latest quarterly results underlined by continuing momentum in TV ad revenue from an improved economy, and a surprise rise in pay TV subscribers.

Corus Entertainment posted a second quarter profit of $27.4 million, up from earnings of $14.2 million in 2010, on revenue up 8 percent to $191.1 million for the three months to Feb. 28.

Corus also surpassed the one million mark in paid pay TV subscribers for its Movie Central service in western Canada.

Montreal-based Astral Media, which operates The Movie Network pay TV service in eastern Canada, raised its second quarter earnings by 3 percent to $34.7 million, against a profit of $33.6 million in 2010, on total revenue up 7% to $232 million.

Astral reported TV revenue was up 7 percent, radio revenue rose 3.4% and outdoor advertising revenue jumped 17 percent.

Despite being able to sign up new pay TV subscribers, both broadcasters face steep TV programming costs to keep their subscribers onside as Netflix and other U.S. digital platforms continue to penetrate the Canadian market.