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Shaw Cable adapts to changing markets

Shaw Cable is 20th on the 2013 V250 list

Feb 12, 2014

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Brad Shaw
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20th on 2013 V250 list
Headquarters: Calgary
Senior executive: Brad Shaw
Sector: Communications
2012 revenue: $4,998,000
2011 revenue: $4,741,000
Growth rate: 5 per cent

The Background

Jim Shaw founded the company in Edmonton in 1966. Back then its name was Capital Cable Television, and, true to form, what would become Shaw Communications saw its first customer, in Sherwood Park, buy cable TV access. Over successive decades Shaw Communications donned different hats, first becoming a nationwide cable TV and radio broadcast company in the 1980s, then scaling back into primarily Western Canada. More recently, Shaw has been expanding its cable TV and Internet service reach, again into southwestern Ontario, and it bought the Canwest broadcast empire in 2010 (sans newspapers) to boot.

The Big News

Last year, a division of Shaw acquired a company with fibre optic cable infrastructure throughout Calgary. Price: $225 million. In 2008, Shaw contemplated entering Canada’s highly profitable but capital-intensive mobile phone network market, purchasing cellular phone radio spectrum for $190 million in a government auction. But it has never used it. Instead, a deal to sell Rogers the spectrum, for $700 million, is likely to go ahead this year, meaning Shaw, just like Verizon, is taking a pass at giving consumers another mobile carrier option.

The Bad News

In December 2010, Shaw petitioned the CRTC to define Netflix and other Internet video companies as “broadcasters,” and then tried to introduce Internet bandwidth caps. It has since launched a Netflix competitor.

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