Ad revenue for conventional TV drops $117 million: CRTC

Overall revenue drops 7.2%

Canada’s conventional TV stations continue to operate in a “challenging” advertising market, according to new data from the CRTC, attracting $117.1 million less in advertising revenue last year.

The decline contributed to an overall revenue drop of 7.2%, to $1.8 billion from $1.94 billion in 2013. Combined, Canada’s 92 private local stations suffered pre-tax losses of $138.7 million, compared with losses of $2.3 million in 2013.

Local airtime sales fell 5.04% to $333.5 million, while national sales fell 7.8% to $1.17 billion. While still a negligible part of the business, infomercial revenue increased slightly (1.73%) to $17.7 million.

Stations in B.C. and the Territories were particularly hard hit, with local time sales falling more than 16% to $46.1 million, and national sales falling 12.38% to $153.1 million.

The picture doesn’t appear destined to get any better in the near-term, with the most recent ad spend forecast from media agency ZenithOptimedia stating TV is showing “unexpected” erosion on a year-to-date basis. The report called for spending on conventional TV to erode between 1-2% a year through 2017.

Private stations increased their investment in Canadian-made programs by 2.3%, to $619.3 million from $605.4 million in 2013. News programming accounted for the bulk of investment ($361.1 million), followed by general interest programs ($84.7 million) and drama ($60.4 million).

CBC/Radio-Canada’s airing of marquee events including the Sochi Olympics and the FIFA World Cup – as well as the NHL season – contributed to a 43% increase in overall ad sales, to $474.6 million from $33.1 million.

The public broadcaster invested $897.9 million in programming, a 9% increase from $821.5 million in 2013.

Staffing levels for CBC/Radio-Canada, which has announced a series of layoffs as part of a comprehensive restructuring of its operations, fell 4.8%, to 5,842, while total employee remuneration fell 3.1% to $581.3 million.

The average CBC/Radio-Canada employee made $99,492 last year – compared with an average salary of $89,357 ($76,584 excluding benefits) for private sector employees – a 3.5% increase over 2013.

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