Why Shaw thinks it’s winning the broadband deployment raceShaw’s Digital Portfolio1.8 million basic customers 74% basic service penetration 168,000 digital subs 298,000 Shaw@Home subs 200 home nodes with fibre capacity to go to 250 750 MHz with digital overlay to offer 200+ channels 9,325 fibre sheath kms 292,921 fibre strand kms Source: Shaw Communications (Figures as of Sept/00)Shaw Communications Inc is taking the high ground when it comes to broadband deployment, saying its ownership of cable, satellite, and high-speed Internet gives it a lead over other broadband companies in Canada.In a recent presentation to investors, Shaw noted that between its digital cable, satellite TV, and high-speed Internet, it has 615,000 digital subscribers, more than any other Canadian company. Shaw claims Bell ExpressVu comes in second place with 526,000 customers, followed by Rogers with 111,400. Shaw’s broadband Internet penetration is forecast to grow from 18% this year, to 43% by 2003.Shaw’s total marketshare, including cable and satellite, currently stands at 20%. Within five years, Shaw predicts its market penetration will increase to 25%. Rogers uses profits to pay for buying spreeRogers Communications Inc, capping off its third-quarter with the acquisition of the Toronto Blue Jays and Cable Atlantic along with a termination of a merger agreement with Groupe Vidéotron, announced net income of nearly $157 million, or $0.70 per share. The figure compares to a net income of about $777 million, or $4.14 per share, in the third quarter a year previously.Also in the third quarter ending Sept. 30, Rogers reported consolidated revenue of $877.7 million, up 12.3 per cent or $95.8 million from the $781.9 million reported in the same period a year ago. The year-to-year increase was attributed to 13 per cent revenue growth in their wireless operations, 12.3 per cent revenue growth in cable, and 10.3 per cent revenue growth in media. Depreciation and amortization rose $153.3 million, or 21.7 per cent, to $186.6 million in the quarter.According to Rogers, cable revenue rose 12.3 per cent from $290.4 million in the third quarter last year to $326.2 million. "The gain in cable revenue primarily reflects growth in core cable TV operations, high-speed Internet service and video store revenue. The revenue increase in core cable TV operations is due primarily to the effect of tier and basic cable service rate increases put in place on Jan. 1, 2000," the company reported.The number of subscribers to basic cable actually fell 4,500 in the quarter to 2.228 million. Banks release figures on cable, telecom investmentsCanada’s major banks released figures this month on outstanding loans to the cable and telecommunications sector, following media reports of potential loan exposure. As of Sept. 30, 2000, the Toronto Dominion Bank said it had loaned $8.946 billion to the media and telecommunications sector. Of the total, $2.068 billion went to cable operators; $1.161 billion was investment grade and $907 million was non-investment grade loans. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce stated its total loan exposure to the telecom and cable sector was $5.5 billion, or 8.6% of the bank’s total corporate and government loan portfolio. Cable accounted for 28% of the $5.5 billion, global telecom carriers 41% and other 31%. Eight exposures were over $100 million, and six total impaired loans were $50 million. The Royal Bank of Canada stated that as of Sept. 30, its total loans to the telecommunications and cable sector were $4.4 billion, or 6.3% of the its total corporate and government loans and bankers’ acceptances; $2.7 billion of the loans were investment grade, and $1.7 billion were non-investment grade. It also said that gross impaired loans in the telecommunications and cable sector were less than $5 million. The Bank of Nova Scotia has so far loaned $4.1 billion to the cable and telecom sectors. The amount represents 2.4% of the bank’s total loans and acceptances. Of the total, $2.2 billion are investment grade and $1.9 billion are non-investment grade. The Bank of Montreal announced it had loans and acceptances to the media and communications sector totaling $2.9 billion, as of Sept. 30. The amount represents 2% of the bank’s total loan portfolio. Net impaired loans to the sector were $14 million. Cable companies were loaned $765 million, regulated telecoms $534 million and other telecoms $321 million. Shaw to inject $200 million into Internet upgradeShaw Communications Inc has earmarked $200 million to upgrade and expand its Internet network across Canada. The money will be spent on Shaw’s extensive cable modem network, and will enhance its Shaw@Home service and its new Shaw Digital Cable Services, according to the company. Shaw president Peter Bissonnette said there were now more than 300,000 Shaw@Home customers. Cogeco Cable acquires more systems in OntarioCogeco Cable Inc has reached an agreement to purchase Huntsville Cable Services Ltd, Muskoka Cable Systems Ltd and Lakeview Cable Ltd, which together service about 13,700 basic cable subscribers. In a separate transaction with Muskoka Worldlink, Cogeco also acquired intercity fibres inter-connecting the systems. Although subject to regulatory approval, Cogeco agreed to pay on average $2,022 per subscriber. On Oct. 23, Cogeco also announced its consolidated revenue had increased by 20% from $81.2 million to $97.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000. Net income, excluding unusual items, amounted to $1.7 million for the last quarter of fiscal 2000. For the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, the company stated its consolidated revenue had increased 14% from the previous year from $325.4 million to $371.2 million. Rogers brings integrated services to Toronto condo Rogers Communications Inc has teamed up with a Toronto developer to bring a range of communications services to residents of the new Waterclub Condominium project, located in the downtown Harbourfront community. Dubbed One Connection, the service package will include digital TV, Rogers@Home, and video on demand. The bundle will also include a new service called eConcierge – a 24-hour electronic connection to services in the condo complex and the Toronto area. The development is being built by Kolter Property Company of Toronto. Strong earnings give Astral reason to start buying Senior officials at Astral Media said during a telephone conference call last week that the company was "diligently" on the lookout for additional acquisitions in the areas of TV, radio and outdoor signage. The sale of Covitec Group Inc to California-based Technicolor has left Astral with $40 million to $50 million in cash, which it could supplement with hundreds of millions more in loans for acquisitions, said president and CEO Ian Greenberg. Astral divested itself of Covitec, which supplies technical services for the film, TV and advertising industries, to concentrate on broadcasting. Astral Media also reported that earnings before taxes increased 49% to $28.6 million, while net earnings increased 18% to $13 million in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2000. CRTC seeks comments for ethnic television and radioInterested parties have until Nov. 24 to comment on how a new television station in the Greater Vancouver area could best reflect the community’s cultural and linguistic diversity. The call for comments follows the federal government’s Oct. 4 directive to the CRTC to report on the "earliest possible establishment" of a TV station for Vancouver’s multicultural, multilingual and multiracial residents. The government was responding to an appeal from community groups, upset at the regulator’s July 6 decision to not license a Vancouver ethnic channel. The CRTC has until Feb. 28 to issue its report to the government. In a separate proceeding, the CRTC is seeking feedback on how radio can better reflect the multi-cultural make-up of the Greater Toronto Area. Specifically, it wants information on demographic trends in the GTA, the availability of radio services, the nature of the programming serving the population; the technical means that might increase the number and diversity of radio services in the region; and the impact of regulatory policies and licensing criteria on potential new entrants. The deadline for written comments is Nov. 17. The CRTC must issue its report to the federal government by Jan. 31, 2001. Corus nets $156M in FY 2000In the fourth quarter ending Aug. 31, net income at Corus Entertainment increased to $15 million from the $200,000 posted during the same period a year earlier. On annual basis, net income rose from $5.9 million to $156 million for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, 2000. Corus’ annual revenue rose 44% to $229.2 million. The company said it was buoyed by 49% growth in revenues in its programming division, 195% in radio, and 113% in other activities, including increased business by Corus’ Digital Adventure, which provides commercial customers with local cable advertising. Cancom loses $11.7M in Q4Canadian Satellite Communications Inc announced a $11.7-million consolidated net loss for the fourth quarter ending Aug. 31, compared with a $17.1-million loss in the third quarter. Cancom attributed the loss to the purchase of additional transponder capacity and to Star Choice’s subscriber acquisition strategy. Cancom had a net loss of $61.7 million. Star Choice reached 450,000 subscribers at the end of the fiscal year.