January 10, 2012 / 4:23 PM / 6 years ago

Corus Entertainment profit climbs 9 percent

(Reuters) - Canadian media company Corus Entertainment (CJRb.TO) posted a 9.3 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by a jump in merchandising sales and growth in advertising on its television channels aimed at female viewers.

Toronto-based Corus' also raised its dividend by 10 percent, and investors took the overall package of results positively, giving its shares a slight boost in heavy volume on Tuesday.

The specialty television producer, with a focus on content for children and women, reported a September-November net profit of C$50.5 million ($49.2 million), or 61 Canadian cents a share. The company's profit was C$46.2 million, or 56 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 6.6 percent to C$236.9 million. Revenue from the television segment rose by 10 percent, which the company credited to double-digit ad sales growth for its women's channels and solid growth in children's TV merchandising.

Analysts, who had on average expected Corus to earn 59 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$229.2 million, said the merchandising sales benefitted from sales of toys related to a Japanese anime series called Beyblade.

Its pay TV business, Movie Central, finished the quarter with 973,000 subscribers, less than it had a year earlier and falling short of a 1 million-subscriber target initially eyed as a goal for 2010.

Corus sells subscriptions to its Movie Central service, which includes HBO Canada, via cable and satellite companies. The company is exposed to the growing threat presented by Netflix (NFLX.O), which offers content via the Internet.

Television accounts for around three-quarters of all Corus revenue. The company sold a string of Quebec radio stations to Cogeco (CGO.TO) in 2011.

Profit and revenue in radio both declined, but Corus Chief Executive John Cassaday pointed to "renewed signs of strength" in the advertising market.

Corus said in November that it expects a roughly 7 percent rise in consolidated segment profit in fiscal 2012, a slower rate of growth than it recorded in 2011.

The company raised its monthly dividend by 10 percent, adding 9 Canadian cents per year to each of its Class A and Class B shares.

The actively traded B shares rose 1 percent to C$21.55 on the Toronto Stock Exchange by mid-morning. They have gained more than 11 percent in the past three months.

($1 = 1.0266 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Maneesha Tiwari in Bangalore

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