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Profits down at TVA Group
by: May 10, 2010 Print

MONTREAL -- Amid media reports that the distribution wing of TVA Group fired its president Yves Dion and closed its Toronto office, the French-language broadcaster reported Monday that profits are down because audiences watched the Winter Olympics and Montreal Canadiens games on other networks.

TVA, a subsidiary of media giant Quebecor, said its television sector's operating income fell 56.9% because of a 5.7% decline in advertising revenues. First-quarter profits at the French-language broadcaster were $1.5 million, down from $6.5 million a year earlier.

"The financial results in the television sector are an indication of just how precarious advertising revenues are," president and CEO Pierre Dion said in a statement. "The Vancouver Olympic Games in February 2010 definitely cost us advertising revenues and audience ratings." RDS and V had French-language rights to the Olympics.

Still, TVA remains the most popular network in Quebec, broadcasting 10 of the most-watched shows in the province. The operating income of its specialty services grew by 24.4%.

By contrast, the company's film distribution unit, TVA Films, is reported to have cut 10 jobs and recently closed its Toronto office (according La Presse and The Canadian Press). Calls to confirm the job cuts, including the reported firing of Yves Dion, were not returned, but Dion's name is no longer listed in the phone directory at TVA Films.

Dion became president of TVA Films in 2005. The company struggled to find an audience for its high-profile film Pour toujours les Canadiens last year -- made to mark the 100th anniversary of the Habs franchise. Despite TVA Films' carefully planned rollout, its cast of homegrown stars and its hockey theme, the film flopped.

Meanwhile, TVA Group's Pierre Dion also confirmed the company would not launch its TVA Sports channel before getting part of the rights to broadcast Montreal Canadiens games in French. Right now, those rights are held by competitor RDS. The company is pressuring the CRTC to force RDS to relinquish its monopoly, which it has by virtue of a contract that expires after the 2012-13 season.



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