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The Globe and Mail

Corus profit rises 16% on TV revenue gains

The Corus building sits at the foot of Sherbourne Street along the Toronto waterfront on August 18, 2010

1--Sarah Dea/Sarah Dea/The Globe and Mail

Corus Entertainment Inc. reported a 16 per cent rise in second-quarter profit, driven by advertising growth on its television channels aimed at women and higher merchandising sales.

Corus, controlled by the Shaw family which also runs cable company Shaw Communications, could soon be Canada's last major independent media company. It has so far avoided consolidation sweeping through Canada's media and telecom industries.

The country's largest telecom company BCE Inc recently made a $3-billion bid for its main rival Astral Media Inc and analysts have said the Shaws may move to combine their two assets.

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At the very least, Corus could likely acquire Astral radio divestments that would be forced if the BCE buy is completed.

Corus' net income attributable to shareholders from continuing operations rose to $31.6-million, or 38 cents a share, from $27.3-million, or 33 cents, a year ago.

Consolidated revenue for the specialty television producer, which focuses on content for children as well, rose 8 per cent to $205.7-million.

Analysts had on average expected Corus to earn 37 cents a share, on revenue of $203.1-million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue from the television segment rose 10 per cent, while sales at its radio unit were down about 1 per cent.

Toronto-based Corus' pay TV business, Movie Central, ended the quarter with 988,000 subscribers.

Corus sells subscriptions to its Movie Central service, which includes HBO Canada, via cable and satellite companies.

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On Wednesday, Astral posted a 10-per-cent rise in quarterly profit on solid gains in television revenue and said it expected TV advertising to keep rising for the rest of the year.

Corus' Class B shares closed at $24.47 on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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