CRTC report shows strong growth in the Canadian broadcasting distribution industry

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
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OTTAWA-GATINEAU — The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today released the statistical and financial summaries for Canadian broadcasting distribution companies.

Overall, total revenues for cable, direct-to-home (DTH) satellite distribution and multipoint distribution system (MDS) companies experienced substantial growth between 2006 and 2007. Cable companies’ total revenues exceeded $7 billion for the first time ever in 2007, while the combined revenues of DTH and MDS companies reached a new high of $1.85 billion.


According to data obtained by the CRTC, total revenues for cable companies increased by 16.1% between 2006 and 2007, rising from $6.1 billion to $7.1 billion. The number of basic-cable subscribers increased from 7.48 million to 7.65 million — a difference of 2.3%.

Cable companies’ profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) went from $1.4 billion in 2006 to $1.5 billion in 2007, representing an increase of 10%. However, expenditures also rose by 19.1%, which reduced the PBIT margin from 22.34% in 2006 to 21.17% in 2007.

In 2007, cable companies employed 17,900 people and paid a total of $1.07 billion in salaries. In comparison, in 2006 these companies employed 15,271 people and paid out $933.1 million in salaries.


Total combined revenues for DTH and MDS companies increased 11.4% between 2006 and 2007, going from $1.7 billion to $1.85 billion. The number of DTH and MDS subscribers rose only slightly over the same period — by approximately 0.1% to 2.6 million.

After posting a loss of $32 million in 2006, PBIT for these companies grew significantly last year, rising more than 153.6% to $17 million. The PBIT margin for DTH and MDS companies also increased significantly — from -1.93% in 2006 to 0.93% in 2007.

In 2007, DTH and MDS companies employed 2,884 people and paid a total of $191 million in salaries, whereas in 2006 these companies employed 2,813 people and paid out $138.2 million in salaries.

Contributions to Canadian programming

Contributions to Canadian programming made by broadcast distribution companies totalled $296.7 million in 2007, an increase of 8.4% over the previous year. Of this year’s total, $155.3 million was directed to the Canadian Television Fund, $38.4 million to independent funds and $103 million to local expression, such as community channels.

Affiliation payments

In 2007, cable companies directed $1.4 billion to affiliates, including pay and specialty services, an increase of 10.4% over the $1.2 billion paid in 2006. Similarly, payments made by DTH and MDS companies to their affiliates grew by 12.3% in one year, rising from $620.3 million to $696.6 million.


The data contained in this report were drawn from the annual reports of Canadian broadcasting distribution companies. Each year, the CRTC publishes a series of reports on the Canadian broadcasting industry’s financial situation in an effort to inform stakeholders and the public.

More: Statistical and Financial Summaries 2003 – 2007 [.pdf]; [.xls]