Shaw Communications Raises Q1 Earnings Despite Losing Cable Subs

The western Canadian media giant continues to lose customers to rival Telus Corp. as cable cord cutting shows no signs of slowing north of the border.

TORONTO -- Cable cord cutting in Canada shows no sign of slowing.

Canadian cable giant Shaw Communications on Tuesday posted higher first-quarter earnings despite continuing to shed cable and satellite TV subscribers.

Calgary-based Shaw Communications saw earnings for the three months ending Nov. 30 rise 4.3 percent to CAN$245 million ($224.7 million), on overall revenue rising 3.3 percent to CAN$1.36 billion (US$1.33 billion).

But the western Canadian media giant continues to face stiff competition from phone giant Telus Corp., which is growing its Internet-based Optik TV service.

Shaw Communications reported it lost 29,619 cable TV subscribers, and another 9,323 satellite TV subscribers, during the first quarter.

Canadian cable companies are showing the biggest losses in TV subscribers among Canadian media players as Netflix Canada and other new digital platforms impact the domestic pay TV market.

Overall cable TV revenue at Shaw Communications was up 4 percent to CAN$844 million (US$774 million), owing to higher subscriber fees and lower promotional costs.

On the TV side, the company also saw media revenue rise 1.9 percent to CAN$325 million (US$298 million).

Higher TV subscriber revenue was offset by lower airtime advertising sales.