With the second attempt at a BCE takeover looming, Canadian broadcaster Astral Media posted an 8% gain in earnings and a 2% bump in second-quarter revenues. Meanwhile, lower TV sales helped drive Q2 earnings down at Corus Entertainment.
Montreal-based Astral has reported that second-quarter earnings rose 8% to US$41 million, with overall revenues up 2% to US$234.5 million. And TV subscriber revenue rose 3% to US$115 million during the latest quarter, driven mainly by specialty TV. But, TV and radio advertising revenue both fell 1%, to US$26.5 million and US$72.3 million respectively.
Over at Corus, a 12% drop in TV revenue helped reduce overall Q2 earnings. As a whole, revenue was down to US$182 million, against US$203.4 million this time last year.
Taking a closer look, TV revenue came in at US$142 million, down 12% from US$163.2 million last year, while radio station revenue also fell 5% to US$40 million, which is US$2 million less than in 2012.
Corus also recorded a pre-tax debt refinancing cost of US$25 million in the second quarter.
Of course, Q2 activities preceded Corus’s March announcement that it plans to purchase the remaining 50% stake in Teletoon and, in a separate deal with Shaw, the last 49% of youth-driven channel ABC Spark. Pending regulatory approval from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the deals together would result in Corus fully owning Teletoon, Cartoon Network Canada, ABC Spark and French-language specialty channels Historia and Series+.
The CRTC, which rejected the first BCE takeover application for Astral last October, will consider the revised bid with public hearings that start May 6. And its decision will undoubtedly impact the Canadian indie broadcaster landscape.
With files from Etan Vlessing at Playback Online