Habs’ playoffs absence may have dogged Quebecor’s media in Q2

Revenue for media fell by 6.5%, although TVA Network's market share remained stable.

Quebecor posted steady year-over-year results in its Q2 financials, with revenue increases in its telecommunications business cancelling out declines on the media side.

For the quarter, Quebecor’s overall year-over-year revenues climbed by 0.5% to $1.043 billion, up from $1.038 billion a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter rose 3.2% to $417.1 million in Q2, compared with $404.3 million last year.

On the telecommunications side, revenues grew by 2.5% to $847.2 million, from $826.6 million last year, while adjusted EBITDA for the quarter grew to $422.6 million, from $397.8 million a year ago.

The uptick in its telecoms business was driven largely by increased revenues in its mobile telephony business (which increased 12.9% to $130.7 million), internet access (up 5.8% to $271.6 million) and the OTT service Club illico (up 18.4% to $11.6 million). Meanwhile, combined revenues from all cable television services decreased 0.6% to $251.5 million.

According to Quebecor, OTT service Club Illico has added 54,000 subscribers (an increase of 16.1%) over the past 12 months, with 8,500 of those coming in Q2. As of June 30, the number of subscribers to the Club Illico service stood at 1.6 million. The service counts Blue MoonLa Dérape and Pablo Escobar raconté par son fils among its original series.

In its media business, revenues fell by 6.5% to $186.5 million, from $199.5 million a year ago. Quebecor attributed the downturn to the fact the Montréal Canadiens failed to qualify for the playoffs, leading to a decline in ad revenue. The quarterly report added that TVA Network’s market share was stable at 23.8%, while the combined market share of its specialty channels increased by 0.5 points and the 24-hour news channel LCN was up 1.2 points (or 26.7%).

Also on the media side, Quebecor in Q2 increased its ownership share in Quebecor Media from 81.5% to 100%, therefore becoming the sole owner of Quebecor Media. In a statement, Pierre Karl Péladeau, president and CEO of Quebecor said the move was a “major milestone” in the company’s history and concludes a process that begun in 2012. The transaction, which was for a total aggregate purchase price of $1.54 billion, saw Quebecor Media repurchase a total of 16,064,215 of its common shares held by CDP Capital d’Amérique Investissements, which is a subsidiary of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

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