Shaw profit up on higher rates, but subscriptions down

Wed Jan 9, 2013 9:32am EST
 

(Reuters) - Canada's Shaw Communications Inc SJRb.TO said on Wednesday that quarterly profit and revenue rose as higher cable and satellite rates offset a net loss of video cable and satellite television subscribers.

Operating income before amortization jumped 9.2 percent in the media division in the fiscal first quarter ended November 30 as advertising and subscriber revenue rose.

Shaw, the dominant cable provider in Western Canada, also boosted revenue and operating income before amortization in its bigger cable and satellite divisions.

Video customers fell 23,912, or 1.1 percent, during the quarter, following a similar drop in the same period last year. "Direct to home" satellite customers fell 4,021, or 0.4 percent, following gains in the year-earlier quarter.

A resurgent Telus Corp (T.TO: Quote) has been pushing an Internet-based television product to win over cable customers in Western Canada. Shaw first hit back with discounts, but has since eased back on promotions.

"We will remain focused on disciplined and sustainable pricing strategies, customer retention, and long-term growth," Chief Executive Brad Shaw said in a press release.

Shaw, which like Corus Entertainment Inc (CJRb.TO: Quote) is controlled by the Shaw family, said first-quarter net income rose to C$235 million, or 49 Canadian cents a share, from C$202 million, or 43 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had expected 45 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue at the Calgary-based company rose 3.1 percent to C$1.32 billion, in line with the average estimate of C$1.31 billion.

(Reporting by Allison Martell; editing by John Wallace)