Cost-cutting, HBO Canada lifts Corus earnings

TV revenue up 15% to $130 mil after launch of HBO Canada

TORONTO -- Despite falling radio and TV air-time sales, cost-cutting measures and TV subscriber growth slightly lifted fourth quarter earnings at Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment.

Toronto-based Corus on Thursday said earnings for the three months to Aug. 31 rose slightly to CAN$18.7 million ($18 million), against a profit of CAN$17.4 million in 2008.

Corus recorded a one-time CAN$5.4 million ($5.2 million) charge related to restructuring its radio operations.

Fourth quarter revenue rose 5% to $195.2 million, against a year-earlier $185.8 million. TV revenue rose 15% to CAN$135.5 million ($130 million), helped by subscriber revenue rising 19% after the launch of HBO Canada.

Radio revenue dropped 12% to CAN$60 million ($57.6 million).

For full-year 2009, Corus posted a loss of CAN$56.6 million ($54.3 million), against a year-earlier profit of CAN$130 million, after a CAN$175 million broadcast license and goodwill impairment charge recorded in the third quarter.

Full-year revenue was CAN$788.7 million ($757.5 million), just up from CAN$787.2 million in 2008.