Corus CEO calls on Ottawa to give domestic media industry more freedom to invest

TORONTO — Corus Entertainment Inc. is calling on the newly elected federal government to give the domestic media industry more freedom to invest where it wants in order to thrive in a world that’s increasingly dominated by foreign multinationals.

Chief executive Doug Murphy said Friday after Corus released its latest quarterly report, that there’s an opportunity to create a more robust ecosystem to transform how television is sold to consumers and advertisers.

“Canadian media companies must be able to move faster, and to invest where we want to invest. Canadian broadcasting policies still don’t allow us that flexibility,” Murphy said in prepared statements on a conference call.

He noted that a government-appointed advisory panel is scheduled to release recommendations this month as part of a years-long effort by the Trudeau Liberals to chart a new path for the long term.

Whatever the panel recommends, however, it will be up to the minority government to decide how to balance conflicting priorities set out by various groups during more than a year of consultations.

“Now is the time for Ottawa to come to the table,” Murphy told analysts on a conference call.

“It is important that we work together — government and industry — to build a new policy framework that works for all of us.”

Murphy said Corus has demonstrated it’s on the right track and making progress towards creating a more diverse source of revenue, including content creation and television advertising sales.

Corus net income for the three months ended Nov. 30 was $78.1 million, or 37 cents per share, up from $60.4 million or 28 cents per share last year.

Adjusted net income was $80 million, or 38 cents per share, up from $70.1 million, or 33 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue was $467.88 million, up by about $407,000 from last year.

Analysts had estimated 39 cents per share of adjusted income for Corus, with $462.5 million of revenue, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The Toronto-based company owns the Global television network, specialty TV channels such as HGTV Canada, local radio stations and content production studios.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CJR.B)

David Paddon, The Canadian Press