Bell’s Astral acquisition helps boost revenue

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By absorbing Astral Media, Bell Media helped boost advertising and subscriber fee revenues, up 21.6% year-over-year to $664 million, according to a morning conference call with analysts.

Bell said CTV saw its primetime average audience jump 57% during the third quarter compared to its Canadian network rivals as it aired The Amazing Race Canada, which averaged 3.5 million viewers during the summer.

Also on the TV front, Bell Canada is giving rival cable operators a run for their money as it busily signs up new subscribers for its Fibe TV Internet protocol TV service.

As BCE released its third quarter results Thursday, the phone giant said it signed up 72,813 new Fibe TV subscribers during the latest quarter, up 70% from year-ago customer levels.

The latest quarter’s performance brings Bell Canada’s subscriber base for Fibe TV to 420,000 Canadians, compared to 200,000 a year earlier.

“The Fibe TV product with the new wireless set top box has clearly attracted a number of customers and given us some differentiation in the market,” Bell CEO George Cope told analysts during the call.

Overall, BCE saw its third quarter revenue rise 3% to $45.2 billion, while net earnings fell 35% to $343 million due to a due to a $230 million regulatory charge associated with its Astral Media takeover.

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