CCR Update

Slow digital cable growth, basic customer losses hit Shaw in Q3 . . .
Shaw Communications Inc. experienced a sharp decline in digital cable growth and lost several thousand basic cable customers in its 2002 fiscal third quarter ended May 31, according to company financial and subscriber results released June 25. Shaw added just 5,976 net digital cable set-top boxes in its third quarter, compared to 43,925 net additions in the previous quarter and 107,671 in the third quarter of 2001. Shaw attributed the slower growth to the elimination of promotional offers such as one-month free digital cable service and free installation, and reduced retailer incentives. The cable operator lost 19,000 basic cable customers in Q3 2002 due to "seasonality", increased competition, and cable tier and bundled package price increases implemented on May 1. Shaw has applied to the CRTC for basic cable rate deregulation. Other Q3 highlights:

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CNM People

Brian Tobin, former minister of Industry Canada, has taken a non-voting, advisory position on the board of directors of the Canadian Recording Industry Association for a term of at least one year.

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CNM Short Takes

Parents site joins MSN.ca family
Montreal-based PetitMonde.com, a resource and shopping site for families, will now be featured on MSN.CA, the portal operated by Microsoft Canada. PetitMonde counts 2 million page hits and 100,000 unique visitors each month, and is operated by Micro-Accès, also based in Montreal.

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Broadly understood lingo could be key to keeping people online, says report author

Online content creators can use specialized Internet lingo to help users feel good about being online, says the author of a new report on the subject. Neil Randall, a University of Waterloo professor, says web designers should take heart that a broad cross-section of online Canadians understand a new generation of emoticons and abbreviations unique to the web, and use them to enjoy their online experience and feel part of an elite group.

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Feds urged to incorporate language strategy into government online initiative

Canada’s watchdog on government language issues is warning the federal government to be sure to integrate both official languages into its evolving Government On-Line initiative. In a report released June 13, the Commissioner of Official Languages (COL) outlined a series of recommendations to proactively ensure government content is posted in both English and French and stressed the need for a cohesive strategy by the various departments involved.

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Alias tax credits ruling won’t likely affect SR&ED Canadian ownership requirements

The lawyer who represented Silicon Graphics Ltd.’s subsidiary graphics company Alias Research Inc. in its bid to be determined a Canadian-owned and -controlled company for the purpose receiving tax credits for two years in the early 90s says a favourable ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal won’t likely have broader implications. The case was argued on very narrow grounds, says Ernst & Young LLP tax lawyer Roger Taylor, and the grey area of tax law surrounding scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) credits has since been closed.

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Door still open to Internet retransmission issue even as Bill C-48 passes

While the regulatory door has been shut to JumpTV.com Canada Inc. to take advantage of this country’s compulsory licensing regime, several avenues remain open to its owners to pursue network retransmission in future. Until the amended Bill C-48 becomes law this fall after being dealt with by the Senate, retransmission remains a grey area, says Jump lawyer Sunny Handa (CNM Update, June 19/02).

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Telefilm performance satisfies industry, but key improvements needed, says report

New media companies are generally more satisfied than their film and television counterparts in their dealings with Telefilm Canada, a new report reveals. Telefilm’s recently published Client Satisfaction and Needs Identification Study indicates that new media respondents to a March 2002 survey scored the agency higher on overall satisfaction than the other two sectors, but the industry otherwise shared roughly the same opinion of Telefilm’s performance in several key areas.

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