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Corus CEO Doug Murphy is seen at the company's offices in Toronto, Ontario Friday September 11, 2015.Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Corus Entertainment Inc. capped off a year to forget with lower fourth-quarter profit of $17.8-million as the company tries to weather a soft advertising market for specialty television networks.

The key drag on results has been from ad revenues for specialty TV networks, such as Corus's YTV, Nickelodeon and Treehouse brands, which fell 10 per cent in the fourth quarter and 6 per cent for the year. Revenue from subscriber fees fell 1 per cent for the quarter, and 2 per cent in 2015, while revenue from the radio segment was also down.

Since Doug Murphy took the helm from long-time chief executive officer John Cassaday in late March, he has reshuffled his executive team and cut 3.5 per cent of the company's staff, aiming to take Corus from its broadcasting roots into a new era of media and content across TV, radio and digital platforms. That has so far included the launch of the first branded Disney channel in Canada, and the introduction of a suite of kids-focused "TV Everywhere" mobile apps for some of its prominent channels.

"Though we are still in the early stages, we are confident that we have the right strategies in place and pleased with our progress to date," Mr. Murphy said in a statement.

Hidden within the falling specialty TV revenue figure was one hopeful sign, however: A sizable part of the decline can be attributed to Telelatino Network, which had unusually high numbers in the comparative quarter last dear due to the FIFA World Cup. Meanwhile, "the women's and family stations saw a important recovery in ads, with double-digit growth [year-over-year]," said Aravinda Galappatthige, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity Corp., in a research note.

The profit of $17.8-million or 21 cents a share, was down from $23.7-million or 28 cents in the same quarter a year earlier.

Revenue fell 4 per cent for the quarter to $193.6-million, down from $201.6-million in the last three months of 2014.

A bright spot for the year, however, was 2015 free cash flow, which was up 15 per cent to a record $201.2-million, even as total revenue for the year fell 2 per cent to $815.3-million.

Corus also reported a $25.2-million net loss for 2015, or 29 cents per share, after earning $150-million or 1.77 per share in the prior year. The company also repaid $75-million in debt over the course of the fiscal year.

Just to meet Canaccord's estimates for the 2016 fiscal year, "we would have to see improvement in current trends," Mr. Galappatthige wrote.

On Thursday, Corus also announced its monthly dividend payments for November, December and January, holding steady at 9.5 cents per share.