Television broadcasting

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Operating revenues in the television broadcasting sector reached $7.1 billion in 2010, up 8.0% from 2009. This was the largest annual increase since 2003 but comes on the heels of a more moderate growth of 0.7% in 2009.

In 2010, advertising revenues grew by 9.2% to $3.4 billion, nearly the same level as in 2008 before the economic slowdown. In 2009, advertising revenues of Canadian television broadcasters fell by 8.3% year over year to $3.1 billion, representing the first decrease in 15 years. However, results differed from one segment of the industry to another.

While private conventional television operating revenues rose 8.8% to $2.2 billion in 2010, they remained below the peak observed in 2007. In 2009, private conventional television operating revenues (-7.7%) recorded the largest annual decrease for this segment in 30 years.

In terms of profits, private conventional television posted a profit margin before interest and taxes of 0.2% in 2010 to $5.4 million in profits before interest and taxes. This result follows on losses before interest and taxes of $113.4 million in 2009. Those losses were the first posted by the private conventional television segment in 30 years.

Pay and specialty television continued its upward trend in 2010, with operating revenues increasing 11.1% year over year to $3.5 billion. This growth exceeded that of private conventional television (+8.8%) and public and non-commercial television (+0.4%). In 2010, the operating revenues of pay and specialty television represented 48.8% of the industry's operating revenues, up from 47.5% in 2009. A decade earlier, this segment accounted for one-third of the television industry's operating revenues.

The profit margin before interest and taxes of the pay and specialty television segments rose to 25.4% in 2010 for profits before interest and taxes of $877.3 million. In 2009, this margin was 23.4% for profits of $728.6 million. The profit margin before interest and taxes for pay and speciality television has been above 20% since 2004.

Advertising revenues have long been the largest source of revenue for the television industry. However, in 2009, for the first time in several years, these revenues represented less than half (47.7%) of the sector's total operating revenues. Although these revenues accounted for close to 60% of the sector's total operating revenues 10 years ago, that proportion stood at 48.2% in 2010.

Subscription revenues for pay and speciality television accounted for 31.7% of the television industry's total operating revenues in 2010, up from 22.5% 10 years earlier.

Despite the importance of subscription revenues for specialty television, this segment has also continued to grow its share of the television advertising market, from 32.0% in 2009 to 32.6% in 2010. In 2001, specialty televisions share of the television advertising market stood at 17.1%.

Available on CANSIM: table 357-0001.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2724.

The publication Television Broadcasting Industries, 2010 (56-207-X, free), is now available from the Key resources module of our website under Publications.

For further information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Sylvain Ouellet (613-951-2779;, Business Special Surveys and Technology Statistics Division.