Canada’s 93 conventional television stations continue to operate in a “challenging environment,” according to the latest financial summary from the CRTC, with overall revenues falling 2.5% (or $46.6 million) to $1.76 billion for the broadcast year ended Aug. 31.
Profits before interest and taxes declined for the third straight year, with the industry recording a loss of $140.9 million (compared with a profit of $156.4 million in 2014).
Local airtime sales declined 1.03% to $330.1 million, while national ad sales were essentially unchanged at $1.2 billion. Private stations have seen national airtime sales drop by more than $286 million since 2011 as advertisers continue to move dollars into digital.
Though they represent a relatively minor part of total TV sales, infomercials were particularly hard-hit, with revenues tumbling 19.3% to $14.3 million.
Private conventional stations invested $652.8 million in Canadian programming last year, up from $619.3 million the previous year. The majority of spending was on news programming ($369.6 million), followed by $86.7 million on human-interest programs and $49.6 million on drama series.
CBC/Radio-Canada recorded a 53.6% drop in advertising revenues, to $220.1 million from $474.6 million in 2014. The loss is attributable to the absence of major sports events like the Olympics or World Cup, as well as the loss of NHL rights.
The public broadcaster shed nearly 11% of its staff, though the average salary for a CBC employee increased 1.04% to $100,528. The average salary for private stations increased 6.45% to $95,119.
After two years of cuts, the parliamentary appropriation for the CBC’s 27 stations also increased 4.4% to $757.9 million.
The public broadcaster spent $687.3 million on programming, with $557.2 million (81.1%) allocated for Canadian programming. The CBC also invested $9 million on animated programming and $33.8 on children’s content.