Profit slipped at Score Media as the company increased spending on new hires and technology to enhance its digital offerings.
The Toronto-based sportscaster earned $212,000 in the first quarter, down from $856,000 a year ago. Revenue increased 14 per cent over a year ago, however, to $13.4-million.
Its digital media division may have only added $1-million in the quarter, but the company was able to use its online offerings to drive viewers toward its content. Its mobile applications drew an average 3.3-million unique visitors a month in the quarter, a gain of 60 per cent from a year ago. Its website drew 1.2 million unique viewers, an increase of 140 per cent.
The company's mobile app was redesigned last year to allow users to customize which stats to follow, with a focus on fantasy sports enthusiasts who are able to track 15,000 players and 800 teams.
It's the first time the company has reported numbers on both its traditional broadcasting business as well as its digital efforts.
Revenue in its broadcast division, which are centred around its television station, increased 14 per cent from a year ago to $12.4-million. Digital revenue increased by 16 per cent to $1-million.
The company said its revenue is typically strongest in the third quarter, with the first quarter being its second best. The second quarter – which is happening now – is traditionally its weakest.
"This seasonality reflects general trends for sports media advertising, which in turn reflects the schedules (particularly the playoffs) of the major sports leagues," the company stated in an e-mail.
Score Media saw its payroll jump to $4.7-million in the quarter, up from $4.2-million a year ago. Meanwhile, it paid more for content, with programming licence fees hitting $2.2-million compared to $1.2-million a year ago.
Advertising revenue was $9.7-million, compared to $8-million a year ago, while fees from subscribers held steady at $3.7-million.
"Q1 was an excellent quarter for Score Media," said chief executive officer John Levy in a statement. "Our broadcast business delivered strong growth in revenue and EBITDA, and our digital media segment generated record revenues and audience growth. We plan to continue to strategically invest in our digital media business to capitalize on the strong position we have established in the mobile sports market, while continuing to grow our broadcast business."