Corus declares Canadian ad recession over

TV, radio b'caster posts bigger Q2 revenue, but lower profit

TORONTO -- Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment says the country's deep advertising slump is in the rear view mirror.

Toronto-based Corus saw its second quarter earnings nearly halve to $14.6 million, against $29 million in 2009, as it recorded a debt refinancing loss of $14.3 million during the latest three months to Feb. 28.

At the same time, overall revenue was $192.6 million, up from a year-earlier $181.3 million.

In line with industry trends, Corus also saw its second quarter TV revenue climb to $137 million, against a year-earlier $123.4 million, while its radio division saw revenue dip to $55.7 million, against $58 million in 2009.

Corus' kids channels signaled a rebound in overall ad and subscriber revenues, while its cable women's channel W has softer ratings as the new PPM ratings system exposed male viewers were shunning beauty transformation series.

Corus reported its Movie Central pay TV service grew its subscriber base by 5% to 973,000 customers, and expects to have one million subscribers by the end of the year.

Movie Central, which is buoyed by HBO and Showtime offerings, currently has momentum from "The Pacific" mini-series.

"There's a constant barrage of programming, so there's no time downtime for someone to switch off," Corus television president Paul Robertson told analysts during a morning conference call.

Corus president and CEO John Cassaday added the second quarter results and air-time sales pacing for the third quarter indicated the advertising recession was behind the broadcaster.

"Our view is there's a breadth and depth to this recovery that gives us comfort that it's sustainable," Cassaday told analysts.