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Quebecor Media operating income up 16.7%

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MONTREAL - Quebecor Media, the cable, broadcasting and publishing arm of Quebecor Inc. showed continued growth through the second quarter of 2004, ended June 30, the company reported yesterday.

Quebecor Media's operating income increased 16.7% to $192 million in the quarter, compared to the same time frame last year. Almost all segments contributed to the improvement, most notably the Vid�otron cable division, with a 31.1% increase in operating income.

The cable increase was due to customer-base growth for the illico digital cable television service, which added 93,000, and the Internet access service, adding 95,000, since the end of the second quarter of 2003.

Vid�otron's quarterly revenues increased 6.0% to $210.4 million, mainly because of higher revenues from the illico digital cable television service, up $12.7 million (67.6%) from the second quarter of 2003, and from Internet access services, up $8 million (17.5%). Free cash flow from operations was $41.5 million in the second quarter of 2004, compared with $29.2 million in the same quarter of 2003.

For the first half of the year, the Cable Television segment's revenues amounted to $419.1 million, a 6.5% increase. Operating income totaled $163.8 million, up 21.7%. Vid�otron's average operating margin for all operations for the year to date stood at 39.1%, compared with 34.2% at the same point last year.

In the Broadcasting segment (TVA), quarterly revenues climbed 2.2% to $94.4 million, mainly because of an 11.6% increase in broadcasting revenues, which more than offset a decrease in publishing and distribution revenues. The segment generated operating income of $29.7 million. The $3 million (11.2%) increase was due primarily to a 23.5% increase in operating income from broadcasting operations.

For the first two quarters of 2004, the Broadcasting segment's revenues increased 2% to $180.3 million, and operating income was $42.1 million, a 2.2% improvement.

Quebecor Media also owns a large newspaper publishing division, including Sun Media. Year to date, Quebecor Media's revenues were up $ 4.2% to $1.18 billion. Operating income was $323.3 million, an increase of 8.7%.

As for the company as a whole, including Quebecor World, the world's largest printing company, Quebecor's year-to-date revenues totaled $5.28 billion, compared with $5.54 billion at the same point last year. The decrease was due primarily to the unfavourable impact of the conversion of Quebecor World's revenues into Canadian dollars. Operating income was $823 million in the first half of the year, compared with $706.1 million in 2003, due to improved operating profits posted by Quebecor World and Quebecor Media. Net income amounted to $11.8 million, compared with a net loss of $17.8 million in the same period of 2003.

For the full release, go to www.quebecor.com.
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