Growth for smaller media companies already looks positive, with SendtoNews experiencing a compound annual revenue growth rate of 7,260 percent between 2011 and 2016. Digital marketing agency Arcane grew its revenues by 1,747 percent in the same period, and for Montreal-based marketing company LinkNow Media compound annual revenue growth amounted to 746 percent. The outlook for smaller industry players is good, and it will be interesting to see whether these organizations reap the benefits of the forecasted value of the media market in coming years.
Returning to Bell’s status as a market leader, as of 2017 it was reported that Bell Wireline generated over 12 billion Canadian dollars in operating revenue, surpassing 2016’s figure by over 40 billion. That being said, what is interesting about Bell is that from 2015 to date their quarterly net earnings have been at their highest in the second and third quarters of the fiscal year. The same is not true of Shaw Communications, whose quarterly net income tends to remain reasonably stable throughout the year but for a significant spike in earnings in the third quarter of 2016 and again in the fourth quarter of 2017. According to Shaw’s annual reports, the sharp increase in net income in the third quarter of 2016 was partly due to the divestiture of Shaw Media. The company’s net income in the final quarter of 2017 is reported to have been higher than usual as a result of gains in foreign exchange and decreases in year-over-year non-operating costs.
Another Canadian company in the telecommunications industry has also reported a growth in revenues – Cogeco Inc. generated almost 2.35 billion Canadian dollars in annual revenue in 2017, up from just over 2.3 billion in the previous fiscal year. Similarly, Quebecor has been experiencing year on year growth in annual revenue since 2012. However, the company’s media revenues in 2017 were down by almost 170 million compared to the previous year, though its sports and entertainment revenues saw a dramatic increase.
The radio industry in Canada is a cause for concern, with CBC/Radio Canada reporting a net loss of 70.77 million Canadian dollars in 2017, continuing the downhill trend of annual losses by the company since 2013. Further, Rogers Communications Inc. reported a drop in media revenue derived from radio services in 2017 – just five percent of revenue was generated by radio services after having remained at nine percent for the previous two fiscal years.
Among publishing companies, the outlook is generally positive. To take Torstar as an example, whilst the company reported a net loss of just over 29 million Canadian dollars in 2017, this marks a significant improvement when compared to the losses experienced over the last two years. For Postmedia Network Canada, despite having suffered a net loss each year since 2011, in 2017 the company reported an annual net income of 44.76 million Canadian dollars. TC Transcontinental’s annual revenue in 2017 was in line with previous years but for a small decrease from the previous year.
All in all, Canada’s media companies are performing well, however it is clear that there is room for improvement as far as radio services are concerned. Whether or not radio revenues will continue to drop remains to be seen, but if radio in Canada is to have a profitable future, new ways to engage Canadian consumers with the medium must be found and key strategies put in place to increase revenues in this area.