Rogers third quarter earnings dip

Higher iPhone sales offset lower broadcast revenue

TORONTO -- Canadian wireless and cable operator Rogers Communications saw its third quarter profit dip slightly as higher Apple iPhone sales offset lower broadcast revenue and new digital product sales.

Toronto-based Rogers saw earnings for the three months to Sept. 30 fall 2% to CAN$485 million ($457 million), against a profit of CAN$495 million in 2008.

Third quarter revenue was 2% higher to CAN$3.03 billion ($2.83 billion), against a year-earlier CAN$2.98 billion. Rogers added digital cable, Internet and home phone customers, but pointed to slowing new product sales due to fewer new home starts and rising unemployment during the economic downturn.

Rogers also posted lower advertising sales at its radio, TV and print operations partially offset by higher subscriber revenue from its Rogers Sportsnet cable sports channel.

Overall, Rogers' broadcast division, Rogers Media, saw revenue drop 6% to CAN$364 million ($343 million).

"Importantly, the results of the quarter reflect record high growth in our wireless data revenues which contributed significantly to the strong double-digit adjusted operating profit growth and margin expansion at wireless and which reflects the success of the investments we've made over the past several quarters bringing smartphones to market," Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed said as third quarter wireless revenue rose 7% to CAN$1.56 billion ($1.47 billion) on higher iPhone and Blackberry sales.

Rogers currently has 28% of its total post-paid wireless subscribers using smartphones, double the percentage of a year ago.

As Rogers continues to diversify from its core cable TV business, the media group on Monday said it has acquired a minority stake in Michael Eisner's new media studio, Vuguru (HR, Oct. 26).