U.S. series drive CanWest profit higher


TORONTO -- Airing such hit U.S. series as "Survivor," "House" and "Prison Break" helped Canadian broadcaster CanWest Global Communications Corp. swing to a second-quarter profit.

Having recently launched a CAN$2.3 billion ($1.99 billion) bid for rival Alliance Atlantis Communications with Goldman Sachs & Co., Winnipeg, Manitoba-based CanWest Global reported Friday that it posted CAN$7 million ($6.2 million) in earnings for the three months ending Feb. 28, compared with a loss of CAN$19.3 million in 2006.

Revenue rose 7% to CAN$692 million ($612 million), against a year-earlier $645 million, as CanWest Global saw a jump in ad revenue from broadcast assets in Canada, New Zealand and Australia jump.

In Canada, where CanWest Global operates two parallel national TV networks, revenue jumped to CAN$166 million ($147 million), compared with CAN$153.7 million in 2006, in large part on higher advertising revenue from U.S. network shows in its primetime schedule.

The Canadian company also saw revenue from Australia's Network TEN rise 14% to CAN$138 million ($122.2 million) during the latest quarter.

"Results for the second quarter were positive, continuing to show a turnaround for Canadian television operations and EBITDA growth for our publications and interactive operations in a tough print advertising market as well as improved performance in the South Pacific," CanWest Global president and CEO Leonard Asper said in a statement.

In January, CanWest Global and Goldman Sachs bid $CAN53 ($47) per share for Alliance Atlantis, which includes a half-stake in the "CSI" TV crime series franchise.

That deal is expected to close in late July or early August.