CRTC releases 2013 financial results for Canadian cable and satellite companies

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
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OTTAWA-GATINEAU — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released statistical and financial information on Canadian broadcasting distribution companies for the broadcast year that ended August 31, 2013.

In the last year, cable companies reported some growth in their revenues and numbers of subscribers, while satellite companies recorded a decrease in both categories. The combined revenues of these companies increased by 4.8% from $14.1 billion in 2012 to $14.8 billion in 2013, and their total number of employees was 31,687.

Cable companies reported a total of 8.8 million subscribers in 2013, an increase of 1.5%, while satellite companies recorded a 4.8% decrease and a total of 2.7 million subscribers in 2013. The total number of subscribers for these companies remained relatively stable at 11.5 million.

In 2013, broadcasting distribution companies spent $477.7 million on the development of Canadian content, a 5.6% decrease compared to the previous year. Of this amount, $216 million was directed to the Canadian Media Fund, $61 million to independent funds, $75 million to the Local Programming Improvement Fund and $125 million to cable-based community channels and other sources of local content.

Every year, the CRTC compiles financial information on the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors in order to produce a series of reports. The CRTC’s report on Canadian broadcasting distribution companies includes information on non-programming services, such as Internet access and telephone services.

The CRTC has already released similar reports on specialty, pay, pay-per-view and video-on-demand services and on Canadian local television stations. The CRTC will release its report on AM and FM radio services shortly. Following the publication of these reports, the CRTC will release its annual edition of the Communications Monitoring Report, which provides an overview of Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications sectors.

These annual reports allow interested parties to keep up to date on the situation in the Canadian communications industry and help them participate in the CRTC’s public consultations.

Quick facts

Cable companies

  • In 2013, cable companies declared $12.3 billion in revenues from basic and discretionary television services, as well as Internet access and telephone services. This total represents a 6.1% increase from the previous year’s revenues of $11.6 billion.
  • Cable companies’ operating expenses increased by 5.1% during the same period from $6.6 billion to $6.9 billion.
  • Profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) also increased, from $2.4 billion to $2.7 billion, as did the PBIT margin, which climbed from 20.8% to 21.5%.
  • The number of Canadian households that subscribed to a cable company’s basic television service increased by 1.5% from 8,688,757 to 8,815,628.
  • In 2013, the total number of cable company employees rose by 11.5% from 26,659 to 29,714 people. Also, the employees’ total earnings rose by 11.3% from $2.2 billion to $2.5 billion.
  • Cable companies spent $2.3 billion in 2013 on affiliation payments for the pay and specialty services they carry, which represents a 5.2% increase compared to the $2.2 billion spent the previous year.

Satellite companies

  • Satellite companies’ revenues decreased by 0.9% from $2.5 billion in 2012 to $2.48 billion in 2013.
  • Satellite companies’ operating expenses also decreased, from $1.7 billion to $1.6 billion.
  • These companies saw their PBIT increase from $389 million in 2012 to $439 million in 2013. As a result, the PBIT margin rose from 15.6% in 2012 to 17.7% in 2013.
  • The number of Canadian households that subscribed to a satellite company’s basic television service dropped by 4.8% from 2,825,677 to 2,691,204.
  • In 2013, satellite companies employed 1,973 people and spent $183 million on salaries. These numbers are lower than those for 2012, when satellite companies had 2,098 employees and spent $189 million on salaries.
  • The affiliation payments made by satellite companies decreased in one year by 2% from $812 million to $794 million.

Subscribers (Basic and Non-basic) – All Services – Canada

              2009       2010  Var %       2011  Var %       2012  Var %       2013  Var %  CAGR (%)
         ---------  ---------  -----  ---------  -----  ---------  -----  ---------  -----  --------
Cable    8,094,058  8,293,963   2.47  8,519,561   2.72  8,688,757   1.99  8,815,628   1.46       2.2
MDS/DTH  2,760,852  2,862,076   3.67  2,877,423   0.54  2,825,677  -1.80  2,691,204  -4.76      -0.6