Corus delaying decision on June dividend
The chief executive of Corus Entertainment Inc. said the company plans to tread carefully with investor payouts as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads.
In an interview with BNN Bloomberg Corus CEO Doug Murphy said that the entertainment company is taking an abundance of caution to adapt with the changing conditions created by the virus, including the company’s Tuesday announcement that it will delay a decision on whether or not to pay out its quarterly dividend in June.
“We’re taking an abundance of caution right now as we chart the course going forward,” Murphy said.
“All of us are completely changing the way we work.”
The company said the latest a decision could be made is June 9, by which time it expects to have more clarity on the nature and length of the impact of the pandemic.
Corus, which owns television and radio stations across the country, including Global Television, did decide to stop buying back shares under its share buyback program in the immediate term in a move to conserve its cash.
Murphy said,Corus is seeing strong viewership numbers across all divisions, despite the impact that the virus is having on day-to-day operations.
“What we are finding here is that as Canadians are self-isolating, as they should be doing, they are rediscovering great shows on television so impressions and audiences are way, way up,” Murphy said.
“Clearly, we wouldn’t wish a pandemic upon anybody to get this kinds of audience growth but it is what it is.”
However, while audience growth continues to climb, Murphy said that Corus is seeing a change in appetite from advertisers.
“Advertisers are readdressing the situation,” Murphy said
“We are seeing some immediate cancelations for those businesses that are customer-facing; airlines, travel, restaurants, retail, movies. There has been a cancellation or a revisiting the message they want to tell Canadians.”
- With files from The Canadian Press