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Torstar profit rises

Canadian publisher Torstar Corp.'s (TS.B-T) second-quarter profit rose, helped partly by higher revenue from the digital media segment.

The company said it expects better year-over-year operating results in the second half of the year as its romance fiction publishing brand, Harlequin's transition from printed to digital continues.

Publishers are increasingly spending to move online as they look to spark interest in both consumers and advertisers to revive a business beset by declining circulation and advertising revenue.

Torstar Corp. reaffirmed its plans to spend $5-$10 million to increase its digital presence over the course of the year.

The publisher of the Toronto Star, Canada's biggest daily newspaper, reported a second-quarter profit of $228.3 million or $2.87 per share, compared with $23.4 million, or 30 cents a share a year ago.

The quarterly profit includes $190.1 million from the sale of a 20 percent interest in broadcaster CTV Inc.

Excluding items the company earned 47 cents a share, compared with 39 cents a share last year.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $393.3 million in the quarter.

Digital media revenue increased by 33 percent and expects the segment to grow at similar pace.

However, the company said it has limited visibility on print revenue.

Operating profit in the media segment before restructuring and other charges rose less than half a percent to $46.1 million as it was dragged by spending in the digital properties.

"Results continue to be mixed in 2011," Chief Executive David Holland said in a statement.

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