Signs of stability in the Canadian ad market are there after key broadcasters Astral Media and Shaw Communications led off the latest earnings season.
Montreal-based Astral posted first quarter earnings up 7% to US$59.6 million, from a profit of US$55.8 million in 2011, on relatively flat revenue for the three months to November 30, 2012 at US$274.5 million, up 1% from a year-earlier US$271.1 million.
Broken out, Astral’s TV revenue was up 2%, “despite an uncertain economic environment,” the company said.
As Canada’s BCE continues to pursue regulatory approval to buy the Montreal-based radio, TV and outdoor advertising giant for around US$3.38 billion, Astral said details of the refilled takeover plan to the CRTC will be made public in February.
Shaw Communications, which includes the Shaw Media TV division, also reported higher first quarter earnings at US$235 million for the three months to November 30, against a profit of US$202 million in 2011.
And revenue for Shaw’s cable, media and Internet businesses was up 3% to US$1.32 billion.
Revenue at Shaw Media, which includes Global Television and a stable of specialty channels, rose 7% to US$319 million, against a year-earlier US$299 million.
Shaw said higher advertising and subscriber revenues offset higher programming costs.