The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released statistical and financial reports on Canadian conventional television stations, cable and satellite providers for the broadcast year ended August 31, 2011. Although revenues remained slightly below pre-recession levels, the profitability of private conventional broadcasters improved mainly due to a reduction in overall program expenses.
Conventional Television Stations:
Profitability – Revenues for private conventional television stations were nearly identical from 2010 to 2011, increasing slightly from $2.147 billion to $2.153 billion. Broadcasters cut 7.2% from their operating expenses, which resulted in a decrease from $2.05 billion to $1.9 billion.
As a result, profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) improved from $11.5 million to $160.6 million in one year. Including contributions from the Local Programming Improvement Fund, the PBIT margin experienced a similar increase from 0.5% in 2010 to 7.5% in 2011. Both the PBIT and the PBIT margin reached their highest levels since 2005.
Revenues and expenses – Revenues from the sale of local advertising grew by 1.5%, going from $350.1 million in 2010 to $355.3 million in 2011. National advertising revenues, on the other hand, did not change noticeably and came in at $1.5 billion.
Investments in the acquisition and production of programs fell from $1.5 billion in 2010 to $1.4 billion in 2011. Excluding the 2010 Canadian programming expenses related to sports, which reached $141 million including the Winter Olympic Games, private broadcasters spent 4.2% more on Canadian programming in 2011. As such, expenditures rose from $540.2 million in 2010 to $562.9 million in 2011, of which $153 million was paid to independent producers to acquire programming.
Spending on foreign programming also declined by 5.8%, going from $773.9 million in 2010 to $729 million in 2011.
Canadian programming – Spending on Canadian programming included $58.3 million for drama series, $71.6 million for general interest programming, $316.9 million for news programs, $15.5 million for long-form documentaries, $39.5 million for other information programs, $33 million for music and variety shows, $0.8 million for sports programming, and $22 million for game shows.
Employment – In 2011, private conventional broadcasters employed 6,337 people and paid $531.7 million in salaries, whereas the previous year, they had 6,282 employees and paid $511 million in salaries.
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) – The CRTC’s report also includes financial and statistical information on the CBC’s French- and English-language conventional television stations. In 2011, the national public broadcaster reported advertising revenues of $369.6 million, which represented a 9.1% increase from revenues of $338.8 million the previous year.
Additionally, the CBC’s programming expenditures totalled $758.5 million, 94% of which was spent on Canadian programs. In 2010, the CBC spent $732.7 million programming, 93.3% of which was devoted to Canadian programs.
This sector of the industry demonstrated sustained growth as the total revenues climbed from $12.5 billion to $13.5 billion in one year.
Conventional Television – Statistical and Financial Summaries 2007-2011 are available online.
Cable companies reported revenues of $11 billion in 2011, which were drawn from basic and non-basic television services as well as Internet access and telephone services. This represented an increase of 8.2% over the previous year’s total revenues of $10.1 billion. At the same time, operating expenses were 10.7% higher during the same period, rising from $5.5 billion to $6.1 billion. This increase was due in part to investments in technology and equipment, as well as higher affiliation payments to the pay and specialty services that these companies distribute.
Although there was little change in the profits before interest and taxes (PBIT), which came in at $2.5 billion, the PBIT margin declined slightly from 25.3% to 23.1%.
The number of Canadian households that subscribed to a cable company’s basic television service increased by 2.8% to reach 8.5 million.
In 2011, cable companies employed 25,241 people and spent $2 billion on salaries. In comparison, the previous year these companies had 24,074 employees and paid a total of $1.8 billion in salaries.
Satellite And Multipoint Distribution Companies
From 2010 to 2011, revenues for satellite and multipoint distribution system companies increased by 5.8%, or from $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion. Operating expenses remained consistent from one year to the next, rising only slightly from $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion. In addition, these companies reported a PBIT of $174.6 million, up from $163.9 million in 2010, while the PBIT margin remained almost unchanged at 6.9%.
Satellite and multipoint distribution companies had 2.9 million subscribers to their basic television service, which did not represent a significant change from the previous year.
In 2011, these companies employed 2,478 people and paid $222.1 million in salaries, whereas the previous year, they had 2,704 employees and paid $232.7 million in salaries.
Contributions to Canadian programming
In 2011, broadcasting distribution companies directed $488.9 million, or 6.5% of the revenues collected from subscribers of basic and non-basic television services, to the creation of Canadian programming. This was an increase of 4.3% over the previous year. Of this total, $206.2 million was directed to the Canadian Media Fund, $58.2 million to independent funds, $106.6 million to the Local Programming Improvement Fund and $117.9 million to cable community channels and other sources of local expression.
In 2011, cable companies paid $2.1 billion in wholesale fees to the pay and specialty services they distribute, an increase of 10.2% over the $1.9 billion paid the previous year. The fees paid by satellite companies rose by 2.8% in one year, going from $894.4 million to $919 million.
Broadcast Distribution – Statistical and Financial Summaries 2007-2011 are available online.