Quebecor builds subscriber base with streaming music, HD

Quebecor Inc. built its subscriber base in mobile phones, cable and internet in 2015, even as the mobile phone and cable markets appear to be saturated.

It reduced its fourth-quarter adjusted net loss to $34.8 million, compared to $59.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was up seven per cent to $1.02 billion compared to $953.7 million in 2014.

Quebecor said it would raise its dividend by 40 per cent to 35 cents a share.

Its Videotron unit is building its LTE service with spectrum bought in 2014 and was successful in wooing new subscribers at a time when cellphone markets are getting saturated.

"Once again, Videotron's growth was driven by the gains at our mobile telephone service, which now serves 768,600 customers, and our internet access service," Manon Brouillette, president and CEO of Videotron, said in a statement.

Among the new subscribers:

  • 135,800 new mobile phone connections.
  • 79,800 customers for the over‑the‑top video service.
  • 30,700 customers for the cable internet access service.

Videotron launched the illico 4K Ultra‑HD PVR, an ultra‑high‑definition set‑top box, as well as an unlimited music service that removes the data cap for streaming music.

Media business shuffle

In 2015, it sold off its English-language newspaper businesses in Canada and discontinued the SUN News specialty channel, in a strategy it said was in line with consolidation happening in the media sector.

It also sold its Archambault Group Inc. retail stories to another Québec company, Groupe Renaud-Bray.

Instead it is building revenue in its media division on TVA Sports, which is the exclusive French-language broadcaster of the National Hockey League games and the most-watched sports channel in Quebec.

For the full year, Quebecor's profit was $180.1 million, compared to a 2014 loss of $24.4 million. Revenue was up 7.5 per cent at $3.88 billion.

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