BCE recovery continues on back of ad growth

While the fourth wave hampered radio and OOH, the return of regularity to TV schedules has the company tracking ahead of 2019.
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Bell Media parent company BCE has delivered another quarter of improvement, helped by increased demand for TV ads and digital services.

While total revenue growth was flat at 0.8% year-over-year, BCE had 3.6% growth in service revenue, dragged down by 14.6% dip in product revenue.

The dip in product revenue was attributed, in part, to fewer customers purchasing mobile devices and wireline equipment. BCE also cited a strong baseline comparison on the product front, as many enterprise and government customers spent on improving their capacity for work-from-home and hybrid work models during Q3 2020.

The biggest growth in revenue for BCE was in the Bell Media segment, up 14.5% year-over-year, with 18.6% growth in advertising revenue. While the fourth wave of the pandemic suppressed the recovery in radio and out-of-home spending slightly, there were strong improvements in TV ads due to demand from the fall TV season, resumption of regular sports schedules and the federal election. TV revenue is also currently tracking ahead of where it was in Q3 of 2019.

In addition, digital revenue was up 32% due to the expansion of CTV’s AVOD products, the SAM TV sales tool and continued subscriber growth for Crave, which is up 5%. Total subscription revenue was up 12.3%.

Bell also took the opportunity to point out audience growth. TSN and RDS were Canada’s top-ranked sports networks for both Q3 and the full 2020/2021 broadcast year, while CTV Comedy, Discovery and CTV Drama were the three highest-rated entertainment specialty channels. In addition, French language news and programming platform Noovo has had an 18% growth in primetime audiences for the current fall TV season.

BCE’s internet business continues to be its biggest source of revenue, though things like 9% growth in revenue from residential internet service were dragged down by a 21.5% drop in product revenue, leaving the division at a flat 0.6% growth year-over-year. In wireless, service revenue was up 5% in Q3, though product revenue was down 13.6%.


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