Global TV owner Corus reports $752-million loss in first three months of pandemic

The company generated a $66.4-million profit over the same period in 2019

It’s tough times for Canadian media companies.

That’s demonstrated by the recent quarterly results released today by Corus Entertainment, owner of the Global TV network and 39 Canadian radio stations.

The Shaw family-created conglomerate reported a $752-million loss in the three months ending on May 31.

That was due to a $786.8-million non-cash charge it placed on its operating statement for “broadcast licences and goodwill impairment.” That amounted to $3.69 per share.

Impairment charges are declared when a company believes there’s been a “drastic reduction in the recoverable value of a fixed asset,” according to Investopedia. It can result from a change in the economic situation or from unforeseen hazards.

“In Q3, we saw increased viewership and engagement across all of our platforms, as Canadians rediscovered the power of television and Corus,” Corus Entertainment president and CEO Doug Murphy said in a news release. “With the economy materially impacted by the COVID pandemic, these audiences were not optimally monetized as advertising demand is tightly correlated to sales and economic activity.”

The company generated a $66.4-million profit over the same period in 2019.

The World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic on March 11. Corus Entertainment’s results roughly coincided with the first three months of the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada.

Revenues fell by 24 per cent to $349 million compared to the March to May period in 2019.

Radio revenues plunged 52 per cent to $17.6 million, whereas TV revenues fell 21.4 per cent to $331.2 million.

Corus’s radio holdings include 102.1 The Edge, Q107 and 640 Toronto.

In addition to Global Television and Global News, its TV brands include the Cooking Channel, Adult Swim, Food Network, HGTV, CMT, Disney Channel Canada, Disney Junior, History, Showcase, National Geographic, Slice and W Network.

Currently, more than 70 per cent of the staff are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the quarterly statement.

“The extent to which COVID-19 and any other pandemic or public health crisis impacts the Company’s business, affairs, operations, financial condition, liquidity, availability of credit and results of operations will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with any meaningful precision,” Corus stated, “including new information which may emerge concerning the severity of the COVID-19 virus and the actions required to continue to contain the COVID-19 virus or remedy its impact, among others.”

On Friday, Corus Entertainment shares ended the day down 16.57 per cent, closing at $2.92.

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight.


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