Canada's broadcasting revenues reach 10 billion Canadian dollars

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
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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. Revenues in this sector of the broadcasting industry have climbed steadily over the past five years and surpassed $10 billion for the first time ever in 2008.


Total revenues for cable companies rose from $7.10 billion in 2007 to $8.24 billion in 2008, which represented an increase of 16.1%. In 2008, the number of Canadian households that obtained basic-television service from a cable company totalled 7.9 million subscribers, an increase of 2.9% from the previous year.

During the same period, the profits before interest and taxes (PBIT) of cable companies went from $1.5 billion to $2.1 billion. While expenditures increased by 7.8%, the PBIT margin improved from 21.2% in 2007 to 25.3% in 2008.

In 2008, cable companies employed 19,847 people and paid a total of $1.2 billion in salaries. In comparison, the previous year these companies employed 18,017 people and paid a total of $1.1 billion in salaries.


Total revenues for direct-to-home (DTH) satellite distribution and multipoint distribution system (MDS) companies increased by 10.8% between 2007 and 2008, or from $1.85 billion to $2.05 billion. The number of subscribers to basic service rose by 2.6% in one year to reach 2.7 million.

The PBIT for these companies continued the upward trend that began in 2007. After posting a PBIT of $17.1 million in 2007, this figure climbed to $81.4 million in 2008. Similarly, the PBIT margin improved noticeably over the same period, rising from 0.9% to 4%.

In 2008, DTH and MDS companies employed 2,975 people and paid a total of $193 million in salaries, whereas in 2007 they employed 2,884 people and paid a total of $191 million in salaries.

Canadian programming

Broadcasting distribution companies contributed $323 million to Canadian programming in 2008, an increase of 7.9% in one year. Of this total, $166.3 million was directed to the Canadian Television Fund, $41.2 million to independent funds and $115.6 million to local expression, such as community cable channels.

Affiliation payments

In 2008, cable companies paid $1.56 billion to their affiliates, including pay and specialty services. This amount represented an increase of 10.8% over the $1.40 billion paid in 2007. For their part, DTH and MDS companies contributed $740.8 million to their affiliates, an increase of 6.3% from the $696.6 million they received in 2007.

CRTC reports

The data compiled in this report were drawn from the annual reports of Canadian broadcasting distribution companies.

The CRTC recently released the financial results for conventional, specialty, pay and pay-per-view television services, as well as for video-on-demand services. It will soon publish those for the radio industry. The CRTC’s annual reports allow interested parties to stay informed about the state of the Canadian broadcasting industry

More: Statistical and Financial Summaries 2004-2008