Sports lead to revenue gains and profit drops at Rogers Media

Media revenue saw a 4% year-over-year lift, driven by a heavy appetite for sports - but Blue Jays' salaries and the shift from print to digital contributed to a drop in profits for Q2.
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Profits and revenues were up year-over-year at Rogers Communications as a whole, but Rogers Media’s profits were down despite a slight lift in revenue, according to its latest financial report.

For the three months ending June 30, Rogers Media pulled in $637 million in revenue, up 4% from Q2 2016 ($615 million). Profits, however, came to $63 million, down 30% from the same period last year ($90 million).

The company attributed this drop in profitability to both the impact of its Q4 2016 decision to transition much of its print magazine properties to digital, as well as increased player payroll for the Toronto Blue Jays (which were also impacted by the foreign exchange rate).

But despite the Blue Jays’ impact on the bottom line, sports fever still drove a lift in revenue for the media division. According to Rogers, revenue gains were due largely to the popularity of Sportsnet, particularly in the wake of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs (which saw an 88% increase in reach and 94% increase in AMA from 2016 across Sportsnet and CBC).

Increased sales at Today’s Shopping Choice (previously known as The Shopping Channel) and higher ad revenue from conventional TV also contributed to the revenue increase at Rogers Media, but these gains were mitigated by lower publishing-related ad and circulation revenue year-over-year. Rogers said in its financial statement that those publishing declines were predicted due to the drastic shift to digital it announced last year, which saw reductions and all-out eliminations of some of its print titles.

Tony Staffieri, CFO at Rogers Communications, said in a call to investors that┬áRogers is “convinced that we made the right decision on [print] at the right time” and that toward 2018, there may be a more positive shift in ad revenue from the digital titles.

Overall, revenue for Rogers Communications came to $3.59 billion (up 4% from Q2 2016) and profits came to $1.41 billion (up 5%). Wireless revenue went up 6% to $2.05 billion and profits were up 9% to $924 million. Cable revenue held steady at $870 million with profits rising 3% to $428 million.


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