Popular fare's not enough to help CTV

Writers strike contingency plan falls short

TORONTO -- The recent writers strike has taken a bite out of the latest earnings statement from Canadian ratings leader CTV.

To ease the impact of the WGA strike, CTV replenished its primetime schedule with new acquisitions and aired popular reality shows like Fox's "American Idol." But it wasn't enough.

Canadian newspaper publisher Torstar lost CAN$500,000 ($495,000) on its 20% stake in CTV parent CTVglobemedia, compared with earnings of CAN$600,000 in 2007, mainly because of the negative impact the recent Hollywood shutdown had on CTV's TV ad revenue.

CTVglobemedia, a private company, does not make its financial results public, so Torstar's results offers a rare window into the media group's fortunes.

CTV holds eight of the top 10 shows on Canadian TV with such hits as CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

Torstar also said Wednesday that a deal unveiled in January to sell its U.S.-based Transit TV business to Chicago-based IdeaCast had collapsed.

Transit TV delivers TV programming to passengers on buses and trains.