DOOH Helps Astral To Solid Q1

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Montreal-based Astral Media Inc. reported solid financial results for the quarter ended Nov. 30, 2010, which saw continued growth in revenues, EBITDA, net earnings, EPS, and cash flow from operations.

The company’s consolidated revenues totalled $267.1 million for the first quarter, an increase of 7% over the $250.7 million recorded last year for the same period. EBITDA for the first three months increased by 5% to $89.3 million from $85.3 million for the same quarter last year. Consolidated net earnings for the first three months of Fiscal 2011 increased by 11% over last year, rising to $53.3 million from $48.2 million year. Cash flow from operations rose by 12% to $67.0 million for the first quarter compared to $59.9 million for the same period last year.

Helping Astral to reach those numbers was the Out-of-Home media division which saw revenue growth of 27%, to which the digital network and the Toronto Street Furniture program contributed significantly. EBITDA for the OOH division grew 31%.

And the addition of nine new digital outdoor advertising faces in the Toronto market increased the national Digital Network to a total of 32 faces. (Those few not already in use will be operational by the end of January.) Partnerships have been developed with provincial law enforcement agencies to extend AMBER Alert announcements to Astral’s 32 digital faces in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.

“Towards the end of Fiscal 2010, we saw encouraging signs of recovery in the Canadian advertising markets,” says Ian Greenberg, president and CEO. “Clearly, that momentum carried through to our first quarter and allowed us to record another solid quarter of growth. All of our business units benefited from this momentum, with our Television and Out-of-Home divisions leading the way.”

Television had revenue growth of 6%, with advertising and subscriber-related revenue increases of 16% and 3% respectively, and pay-television subscriber growth of 5%.

Radio showed revenue growth of 3%. Among radio developments, an agreement was made with UBC Media Group to launch, towards the end of the Q2, world-class mobile streaming applications to extend the radio listener experience into the handheld space.

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