Discovery Kids going dark

Corus is pulling the plug on its DK digi-channel despite sunny predictions for 2010, and Drive-In Classics is getting a revamp.

An upbeat Corus Entertainment predicts slightly higher profits in fiscal 2010 as it continues to rework its business model in a recovering Canadian economy.

‘There seems to be a broad-based consensus that, in calendar 2010, there will be a return to stronger levels of spending from advertising,’ Corus Television president Paul Robertson told investors in Toronto after recent upfront TV ad sales.

Corus said its fiscal 2010 profits will range between $255 million and $270 million, helped by recent cost-cutting to survive the recession.

Those chops include Discovery Kids Canada, a digital specialty channel Corus operates in partnership with US-based Discovery Communications, and plans to shut down.

‘Most of the savings that we’ve captured will be retained in 2010. What we’re thinking about is 2011,’ Corus CEO John Cassaday told investors.

Last January, just as Canadian spending plunged, Corus predicted that it would earn $255 million to $265 million in fiscal 2009, down from previous guidance of $270 million to $280 million. Corus has yet to release full-year 2009 earnings.

The broadcaster said it would grow its revenue and profit line in 2010 by drawing in more female TV viewers and touting the benefits to advertisers of the new Personal People Meter (PPM) technology, which Corus insists is more accurate in identifying viewership.

‘One of the principal demos is women 25 to 54 in conventional TV. We’re going after that pie – that’s the bucket that represents the most significant growth opportunity for us at Corus,’ Cassaday told analysts.

Corus in the last year launched Cosmopolitan TV and Viva to complement the W Network, and will rebrand its recent acquisition Drive-In Classics to appeal more to female viewers. This follows a reworking of its Scream channel into Dusk, also in a bid to draw more women.

On the kids TV side, Corus said food advertising remains under pressure owing to concerns over childhood obesity, but that toy and entertainment categories are growing.

The broadcaster predicted ‘modest’ growth in airtime revenue for its kids TV properties overall.

Shares in Corus rose 44 cents, or 2.6% to $17.24 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday, nearer to a 52-week high of $20.30.

From Playback Daily