Postmedia Network reports ad growth of 2%

National and online advertising led the increase in ad revenues for Canwest LP's Q3, according to Paul Godfrey and Doug Lamb in Postmedia Network's first quarterly conference call with investors.

In the first quarterly revenue growth in two years, Canwest LP’s Q3 financial sheets show revenues of $270 million – up 1% over the same period of 2009.

Although growth is very modest, Paul Godfrey, president and CEO of the newly established Postmedia Network, said he believes it is evidence of a gradually improving financial environment for the media company.

Godfrey and Doug Lamb, EVP and CFO at Postmedia Network, yesterday afternoon held the first quarterly conference call between Postmedia Network and its investors. The executives discussed the financial results of Q3, when its newspapers and web assets still belonged to its predecessor, Canwest LP.

Advertising revenue for the three months ending May 31, 2010 grew 2% in the quarter relative to the same period in the prior year, said Lamb.

‘This growth was led by national, which was up 7%, and online advertising, up 9%,’ he said.

Gains in these categories were offset by losses in classifieds, down 3%; the retail category and inserts, which were both down 1%, said Lamb. The EVP did note, however, that there was significant improvement in these categories: in the first quarter, classifieds was down 34% and retail was down 15%.

‘The strong sector in national is primarily auto,’ said Godfrey in response to a question from an investor. ‘Auto has been the one sector that’s roared back. There’s been some improvement in real estate, and we have yet to see any real comeback in the employment area of classifieds,’ he added.

Postmedia Network acquired the assets of Canwest LP and its subsidiaries including the shares of National Post Inc. for approximately $925 million in cash, the issuance of approximately 13 million shares of parent company Postmedia Network Canada Corp. and the assumption of certain liabilities of the predecessor company.

It has spent the last few weeks laying the foundation for moving forward with a ‘digital first’ model, including an exec shakeup earlier this month and the appointment of Wayne Parrish as chief transformation officer. The team will help Postmedia Network evolve into a ‘leaner, nimble, more innovative company that is well-positioned to compete successfully in an increasingly digital world,’ Godfrey said during the call.

Related stories: Canwest releases Q3 results