Shaw’s Pay TV Business Returns to Growth

Canada’s Shaw Communications said cable TV subs grew for the first time since 2010 following the recent deployment of a next-gen video service that leans on Comcast’s X1 platform.

Shaw added 12,921 cable video subs in its fiscal Q3 period, expanding that total to 1.66 million. By comparison, Shaw lost more than 27,000 cable video subs in the year-ago period.

Shaw’s return to growth in the category follows rollout of BlueSky TV, a service that comes way of the operator’s licensing of Comcast’s X1 platform.

Shaw launched BlueSky TV in January 2016, initially in Calgary, and now offers it across its cable video services footprint. Cox Communications also uses X1 for its new “Contour” service, and Rogers Communications has plans to launch an X1-based IPTV service by early 2018.

RELATED: Shaw Launches ‘BlueSky TV,’ Powered by Comcast’s X1 Platform

But it hasn’t been all clear sailing for Shaw, as the operator is facing a patent lawsuit from OpenTV and Nagravision units of The Kudelski Group that is seeking to halt the rollout of BlueSky TV.

RELATED: OpenTV, Nagravision Sue Shaw, Target MSO's X1-Based TV Service

But cable video growth wasn’t the only story during Shaw’s Q3, as it also added 6,531 satellite video subs in the period, giving it a total of 776,825.

The Canadian MSO also tacked on 20,892 high-speed internet subs, ending Q3 with 1.83 million.

Shaw noted that it’s “optimistic” that BlueSky TV combined with its WideOpen 150 broadband tier and new more flexible TV packages offer a “compelling reason for consumers to stay and switch to Shaw.”

During Q3 Shaw had a net gain of more than 38,000 revenue generating units in its consumer division, improving on the 47,000 RGU losses in the year-ago quarter.

In wireless, Shaw added 20,000 RGUs (postpaid and prepaid) in the quarter.