TV3 notched up a modest $1 million operating profit for its Canadian owner in the three months to November 30, double the result for the same quarter last year, but still well down on the $7 million it achieved during the period in 1999.

CanWest's New Zealand chief, Brent Impey, said the company's television business was improving as audiences and sales increased.

"We are ahead of plan in terms of a turn-around in performance of TV3." He said the company aimed to have TV3 profitable by the end of this financial year. It has lost money in the previous three quarters.

Revenue for Winnipeg-based CanWest's New Zealand television operations - TV3 and TV4 - was $C18.4 million ($26.59 million), up from $C16.9 million during the same quarter the previous year.

The company's operating profit from its radio business - including the More FM and Radio Works networks - also improved, from $C3.9 million to $C4.2 as revenue increased from $C14.6 million to $C15.3 million.

CanWest's television competitor, state-owned Television New Zealand, reports its half-year result in March.

TVNZ's net surplus after tax dropped from $43 million to $30 million last year as the company, like TV3 and TV4, struggled with falling revenue from advertisers.

Internationally, CanWest - with media interests in Canada, NZ, Australia, and Ireland - posted a first-quarter net profit of $C108 million compared with $C41 million in the first quarter of last year.