From the fringe to the core

The Toronto Star, the biggest metro daily paper in Canada, had its annual general meeting yesterday and reported soft profits in the past year.

What's relevant to this is a passage further down in a TorStar story about what looks bright on the horizon for the company:

To be sure, while the advances of the dollar have hurt Torstar and other companies that receive some revenues in U.S. currency, one reason for optimism seems to be the progress reported by Torstar's Transit Television Network.

TTN, which installs, operates and sells advertising for video display units installed in city buses, signed a watershed agreement with the transit authority in Los Angeles, the Number 2 North American media market. To date, 1,700 of the city's 2,200 buses have been equipped with video units, said TTN president Gerry Noble.

"Before we were in Los Angeles, we were basically selling regionally, but this deal has really allowed us to go after national advertisers," Noble said, adding that TTN has already signed on companies such as Walt Disney Co. sports TV unit ESPN, Paramount Pictures and fast-food chain Carl's Jr.

In 2005, TTN reported an operating loss of about $11.8 million on revenue of $3.5 million. "We aim to be EBITDA positive 24 months after we install systems in a market and bottom-line profitable two to three years after," Noble said. It's also possible that TTN will pursue contracts with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, which Noble said may, within the next 12 to 18 months, ask companies to put forward bids for such a project.

I suppose part of this is spin-doctoring to talk about anything new and potentially profitable, but it's still rare when major media companies give much if any investor attention to their little new media projects.

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