Torstar hits CTV with $27mil charge

Ad revenues fall as series rates climb

TORONTO -- The economic downturn continues to hobble Canadian broadcaster CTVglobemedia as minority shareholder Torstar Corp. on Wednesday said it will take a one-time CAN$29.9 million ($27.5 million) charge on its investment.

Toronto-based Torstar said the unusual charge was related to a valuation allowance against some of CTVglobemedia's "future income tax assets."

Privately-held CTVglobemedia, which operates the CTV national TV network, continues to sustain losses due to a national TV ad slump.

Twenty percent stakeholder Torstar said its share of CTVglobemedia's second quarter loss, excluding the valuation allowance, was CAN$2.3 million ($2.1 million), against a year-earlier loss of CAN$6.9 million.

Torstar has this year sustained CAN$34.5 million ($31.7 million) in total losses from its CTVglobemedia stake, acquired in 2006.

CTVglobemedia said in a regulatory filing last February that it expected to sustain pre-tax losses at its conventional TV stations in the CAN$90 million ($83 million) to CAN$100 million ($91.9 million) as the TV ad meltdown took hold.

Rival Canadian broadcasters are similarly posting losses in 2009 on falling ad revenue and asset writedowns.

The overall TV ad revenue fall has also come as the cost of U.S. network series for CTV, Global Television and other domestic networks continues to climb.