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Canadian Broadcasters Posted Red Ink in ’09

VANCOUVER: Profit margins for privately held broadcasters in Canada fell nearly six percent last year, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said in its annual report. Total revenues for broadcast TV stations fell 7.9 percent between Sept. 1, 2008 and Aug. 31, 2009. Revenues declined from C$2.14 billion to C$1.97 billion. Broadcasters were said to lose a collective C$116.4 million before interest and taxes, producing a profit hit of 5.9 percent. For the prior year, the broadcasters, including CTV and Global, posted C$8 million in profit before taxes and interest--a wee profit margin of 0.4 percent.

As with the U.S. market, a decline in ad revenues led to the loss. Local and national advertising fell 10 percent each. At the same time, revenue for non-broadcast TV providers climbed to C$11.4 billion, up C$1.1 billion from the previous year, prompting broadcasters to seek carriage fees for TV signals, the CBC News reports. The arrangement would be similar to retransmission fees in the United States. The CRTC is said to be issuing a decision on carriage fees on Monday.