Rogers was the first of the Big 3 to post its first-quarter earnings, reporting a 3% drop in profits to $248 million, compared to the same period a year ago. Wireless revenue, on the other hand, was up 5%. Overall revenue was up 2% in the quarter to $3.245 billion (via the Globe and Mail).
The carrier added 14,000 new contract wireless customers in the first three months of the year, up from a loss of 26,000 reported for the same period a year ago. Rogers CEO Guy Laurence said the carrier has posted its best first-quarter wireless postpaid churn in over five years.
Wireless revenue is up due to higher network revenue from a higher subscriber base, thanks to the adoption of the higher-postpaid ARPA generating Rogers Share Everything plans, and increased device revenue.
Back in January Rogers announced that would be cutting 200 jobs in the television, radio, and publishing divisions. Now Laurence says he expects the restructuring to be completed by the end of the second quarter.
He notes that advertising revenues have fallen in conventional television and publishing operations. Sports revenues account for about 50% of the media segment, and it continues to grow, he added.
“The nature of which sports advertisers are directing their dollars to has changed a little bit, depending on the performance of the teams,” he said, describing ad revenue for the Rogers-owned Toronto Blue Jays baseball team as “better than we expected,” and hockey advertising as “up, but still not quite where we expected it to be.”
Rogers owns the national rights to NHL broadcasts, and since no Canadian teams made the playoffs in 2016, there were voices wondering whether Rogers would be able to turn a profit on that investment this year. Interestingly, Rogers says it earned 10% return on the rights last year.