Rogers Communications Posts Lower Q1 Results

Canada's largest wireless phone and cable TV operator faces higher rights costs for NFL and NBA programming for its Sportsnet cable sports channel.

TORONTO – Rogers Communications, Canada’s largest cable and wireless phone operator, posted a lower first quarter profit Tuesday, despite adding a record number of smartphone customers and sharply higher broadcast revenue.

Toronto-based Rogers saw earnings for the three months to March 31 dip 9 percent to $335 million, on total revenue up 4 percent to $2.98 billion.

Wireless revenue was up 4 percent to $1.72 billion, cable TV revenue rose 3 percent to $813 million and media revenue rose 17 percent to $329 million.

At the same time, Rogers faced higher costs to recruit new smartphone subscribers and reduce churn, and increased rights costs for NBA and NFL programming for its Rogers Sportsnet regional sports cable channel.

Rogers is still Canada’s largest wireless phone provider, with around 9 million subscribers.

But it faces increased competition from archrival Bell Canada, which is pulling closer to Rogers with around 7.24 wireless phone subscribers, and new cell phone market entrants.