CanWest Global Communications Corp. Reports First Quarter 2008 Results



    Strong increases in Revenue and EBITDA

    WINNIPEG, Jan. 10 /CNW/ - CanWest Global Communications Corp. ("Canwest
or the "Company") today reported financial results for its first quarter ended
November 30, 2007. For the three month period Canwest reported the following:

    
    -   Consolidated revenues were $868 million, an increase of 8% from
        $805 million for the same quarter one year ago.

    -   Consolidated EBITDA(1) was $222 million, compared to consolidated
        EBITDA of $209 million for the same period in 2007, a 6% increase
        from the previous year. Included in first quarter 2008 results are
        non-recurring restructuring expenses in the amount of $12 million.
        Excluding these costs, EBITDA would have totaled $234 million, an
        increase of 12% from the same quarter last year.

    -   Net earnings were $41 million or $0.23 per share, compared to
        $66 million or $0.37 per share for the same period last year. Net
        earnings in the quarter were impacted by a number of items including
        foreign currency swap losses, restructuring expenses and increased
        interest expense.
    

    "Our strong first quarter results reflect good execution and a solid
start to the fiscal 2008 year. In our Canadian television segment, Global TV
made its best showing in 5 years during the fall season with respect to its
share of the top 10 shows in the 3 major markets of Toronto, Vancouver and
Calgary, with more top shows in the 18-49 demographic than any other
broadcaster.
    In addition, we expect to receive final regulatory approval from the CRTC
on our acquisition of Alliance Atlantis specialty television, as we have filed
all the required documentation. This will allow us to move forward and focus
on integrating these assets into the Canwest family," said Leonard Asper,
Canwest's President and Chief Executive Officer.

    Segmented Results for First Quarter of F2008

    Revenues for the Company's publishing operations for the year were
$362 million, 5% higher than revenues of $344 million for the same period in
fiscal 2007. Publishing EBITDA of $102 million for the year was up 16% from
$88 million in fiscal 2007.
    Canadian television operations, including CW Media (formerly Alliance
Atlantis broadcast segment) specialty television operations in the first
quarter of 2008, reported revenues of $308 million up from $208 million the
previous year, an increase of 48%. EBITDA increased 84% to $69 million from
$38 million the previous year. On a pro forma basis, including revenue and
EBITDA of the specialty operations of CW Media for the three months ended
November 30, 2006, revenue and EBITDA would have increased 4% from $295 and 4%
from $67 million.
    Canadian television operations, excluding the CW Media specialty
television operations reported a slight increase in revenues to $211 million
up from $208 million the previous year and a 14% decrease in EBITDA to
$32 million from $38 million the previous year. The lower EBITDA is primarily
related to higher marketing expenses associated with the launch of E!, and
timing of program expense.
    The newly acquired specialty television assets reported revenues of
$97 million and EBITDA of $37 million for the quarter, an increase of 12% on
revenue and 29% on EBITDA compared to the same period last year.
    Network TEN's revenue of $242 million is a 12% increase from the
$216 million during the same quarter in the previous year. TEN's EBITDA of
$104 million was a 19% increase over the $87 million from the same quarter in
fiscal 2007.

    Highlights of the first quarter and subsequent

    
    -   Canwest received a positive decision from the CRTC regarding the
        acquisition of the specialty television assets of Alliance. Those
        assets which were acquired in August, 2007, were being held in trust
        pending a public hearing and decision from the Commission. On
        December 20, 2007, the CRTC conditionally approved the transaction
        and the change of control to CanWest. The Company believes that the
        CRTC conditions will not have a material impact, and the Company has
        completed the filing of all amendments and information requested.

    -   Canwest Publishing delivered growth in both online and print
        classified advertising. Led by the strong economies of Canada's
        western provinces, Canwest newspapers had classified revenue growth
        of 6% during the quarter.

    -   Canwest Publishing overall online revenue growth continued with
        strong contributions from online properties including: Canada.com,
        local newspaper sites, working.com, shopping.ca, dose.ca and
        FPinfomart.ca

    -   During the first quarter, Canwest's main Canadian conventional
        television network, Global TV, in the 18 - 49 year old demographic
        had five of the top 10 shows in Toronto and Vancouver and in Calgary,
        Global had six of the top 10, including the number one series in
        Canada, House.

    -   Network TEN in Australia completed its most successful year ever in
        terms of audience share. For the seventh straight year, TEN was the
        most watched Australian network among younger viewers in the
        16 - 39 year old demographic. In addition, TEN hit a record high
        among the 18-49 year old demographic with 35% of the commercial
        television audience. TEN also launched a second channel, the first
        High Definition channel in Australia, and strengthened its position
        in the online and mobile sectors using its network content.

    -   Canwest launched its third terrestrial FM radio station in the
        United Kingdom. Original 106 Aberdeen, Scotland, joins Original
        stations in the Solent district and Bristol, England.
    

    Outlook:

    As we move into 2008 we anticipate a continuing improvement in overall
operating results. Our operations in Australia have just completed their best
ever television ratings year in terms of audience share and will continue to
be a major contributor to our EBITDA growth. Eye Corp. continues to grow its
share of out-of-home advertising in the markets in which it operates by adding
to its product offering.
    The positive trend in the publishing group should continue as we capture
more of the migration of classified advertising online, monetize the growth of
website traffic generally, and continue with strong cost management. Our
directories business which launched in Ottawa last year and is now expanding
into Western Canada, continues to show promise.
    At Canadian broadcasting in the remainder of fiscal 2008 and beyond the
Company will focus on integrating the recently acquired specialty broadcasting
assets and ensuring these premier brands deliver on the promise of
re-balancing the revenue streams of our broadcasting group in order to spur
renewed growth. Our conventional channels, while showing good early returns on
the primetime line-up will be affected by the ongoing Hollywood writers'
strike, the impact of which should be reduced by the launch of new reality
based shows in the new year including the next installment of Survivor, The
Celebrity Apprentice, Big Brother (three episodes per week), the launch of
mid-season program Cashmere Mafia, the highly anticipated launch of a new
Canadian show called The Guard, and the airing of new episodes of House,
Prison Break, The Simpsons, Las Vegas and Bones.

    Forward Looking Statements:

    This news release contains certain comments or forward-looking statements
about the objectives, strategies, financial conditions, results of operations
and businesses of CanWest. Statements that are not historical facts are
forward-looking and are subject to important risks, uncertainties and
assumptions. These statements are based on our current expectations about our
business and the markets in which we operate, and upon various estimates and
assumptions. The results or events predicted in these forward-looking
statements may differ materially from actual results or events if known or
unknown risks, trends or uncertainties affect our business, or if our
estimates or assumptions turn out to be inaccurate. As a result, there is no
assurance that the circumstances described in any forward-looking statement
will materialize. Significant and reasonably foreseeable factors that could
cause our results to differ materially from our current expectations are
discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" contained in our Annual
Information Form for the year ended August 31, 2007 dated November 20, 2007
filed by CanWest Global Communications Corp. with the Canadian securities
commissions (available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com ), as updated in our most
recent Management's Discussion and Analysis for the three months ended
November 30, 2007, dated January 10, 2008. We disclaim any intention or
obligation to update any forward-looking statement even if new information
becomes available, as a result of future events or for any other reason.

    The Company's financial statements and Management's Discussion and
Analysis for three months ended November 30, 2007 are available on the
Company's website: www.canwest.com. Financial statements and Management's
Discussion and Analysis for three months ended November 30, 2007 for Canwest
Newspaper Limited Partnership can be found at www.canwestmediaworkslp.com.
Financial statements for Ten Network Holdings Limited can be found at
www.tencorporate.com.au.
    The Company will hold its regular quarterly conference call with analysts
on January 10, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The call-in numbers
are 416-644-3414 or 800-733-7571. Replays are also available for five days
following the call at 416-640-1917 or 877-289-8525 (using the pass-code
21257710 followed by the pound sign.)

    CanWest Global Communications Corp. (www.canwest.com), (TSX: CGS and
CGS.A,) an international media company, is Canada's largest media company. In
addition to owning the Global Television Network, Canwest is Canada's largest
publisher of English language daily newspapers and owns, operates and/or holds
substantial interests in conventional television, out-of-home advertising,
specialty cable channels, web sites and radio stations and networks in Canada,
New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and
the United States.

    
    CANWEST GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS CORP.
    BUSINESS SEGMENT INFORMATION
    (unaudited)
    (in thousands of Canadian dollars)

                                                   For the three months ended
                                                   --------------------------

                                                         November 30,
                                                         ------------

                                                     2007            2006
    REVENUE

    Publishing                                       361,906         343,867
                                                    ---------       ---------

    Television
      Canada                                         210,792         207,896
      CW Media                                        97,127               -
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     307,919         207,896
      Australia                                      242,336         215,860
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     550,255         423,756
    Radio
      Turkey                                           3,564           3,385
      United Kingdom                                     388             234
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                       3,952           3,619

    Outdoor                                           42,287          35,528
    Intersegment revenues                             (1,538)         (1,913)
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     956,862         804,857
    Elimination of equity accounted affiliates       (89,123)              -
                                                    ---------       ---------
    CONSOLIDATED REVENUE                             867,739         804,857
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                    ---------       ---------

    SEGMENT OPERATING PROFIT

    Publishing                                       102,165          87,754
                                                    ---------       ---------

    Television
      Canada                                          32,250          37,681
      CW Media                                        37,132               -
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                      69,382          37,681
      Australia                                      103,505          86,697
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     172,887         124,378
    Radio
      Turkey                                           1,584           1,190
      United Kingdom                                  (1,290)           (823)
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                         294             367
    Outdoor                                            3,142           5,026
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     278,488         217,525
    Corporate and other                               (9,512)         (9,025)
    Corporate development expenses                   (11,645)              -
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     257,331         208,500
    Elimination of equity accounted affiliates       (35,415)              -
                                                    ---------       ---------
    OPERATING PROFIT (EBITDA)(1)                     221,916         208,500
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                    ---------       ---------

    (1) EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, income taxes,
        amortization of intangibles, amortization of property, plant and
        equipment, other amortization, interest rate and foreign currency
        swap gains (losses), accretion of long term liabilities, foreign
        exchange gains, investment gains, losses and write-downs, minority
        interest, interest in earnings of equity accounted affiliates,
        realized currency translation adjustments, and earnings from
        discontinued operations. This supplementary earnings measure does not
        have a standardized meaning prescribed by Canadian generally accepted
        accounting principles and may not be comparable to similar measures
        presented by other companies nor should it be viewed as an
        alternative to net earnings. The reconciliation of EBITDA to net
        earnings is evident on the face of the following consolidated
        statements of earnings.



                     CANWEST GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS CORP.
                     CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
                                 (UNAUDITED)
        (In thousands of Canadian dollars except as otherwise noted)

                                                   For the three months ended
                                                   --------------------------
                                                    November,       November,
                                                     2007            2006

    Revenue                                          867,739         804,857
    Operating expenses                               418,423         396,873
    Selling, general and administrative expenses     215,755         199,484
    Restructuring expenses                            11,645               -
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                     221,916         208,500
    Amortization of intangibles                        2,431           1,038
    Amortization of property, plant and equipment     24,930          22,002
    Other amortization                                   293             571
                                                    ---------       ---------
    Operating income                                 194,262         184,889
    Interest expense                                 (82,435)        (42,219)
    Interest income                                   16,375           1,580
    Amortization of deferred financing costs               -          (2,411)
    Interest rate and foreign currency swap gains
     (losses)                                        (27,759)          8,779
    Accretion of long term liabilities               (23,881)              -
    Foreign exchange gains                             6,081           2,877
    Investment gains, losses and write-downs           2,868              10
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                      85,511         153,505
    Provision for income taxes                        35,923          53,293
                                                    ---------       ---------
    Earnings before the following                     49,588         100,212
    Minority interests                               (28,679)        (41,179)
    Interest in earnings of equity accounted
     affiliates                                       19,836             363
    Realized currency translation adjustments              -            (425)
                                                    ---------       ---------
    Net earnings from continuing operations           40,745          58,971
    Earnings from discontinued operations                  -           7,392
                                                    ---------       ---------
    Net earnings for the period                       40,745          66,363
                                                    ---------       ---------
                                                    ---------       ---------

    Earnings per share from continuing operations:
      Basic                                            $0.23           $0.33
      Diluted                                          $0.23           $0.33
    Earnings per share:
      Basic                                            $0.23           $0.37
      Diluted                                          $0.23           $0.37

    





For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Dervla Kelly, Director,
Corporate Communications, Tel: (416) 442-3807, dekelly@canwest.com; Investor
Contact: Hugh Harley, Director, Investor Relations, Tel: (204) 956-2025,
hharley@canwest.com; John Maguire, Chief Financial Officer, Tel: (204)
956-2025, jmaguire@canwest.com

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