Bored by the then poor TV programming then, James Robert Shaw in 1966 founded Capital Cable Television, today’s very successful Shaw Communications Inc. popularly known as Shaw Cable. It has not been an easy rise to the top but through focus and a vision the company has reached where it is today with 3.4 million cable customers spread across Canada. Truly Shaw Communications has come a long way from the time they connected the first customer in Sherwood park, back in 1971. Since then, the company has grown in leaps and bounds and diversified to become a fully integrated communications solutions company.
Growth For Shawcable
The 1970′ s were a period of growth for Capital Cable as it continued a steady but quiet expansion in across Canada reaching places such as Victoria BC, from its original home of Edmonton, Alberta. In the 1980′s however there was a period of accelerated growth and changes, Capital Cable went public in 1983 through the Toronto stock exchange. In the following year it changed its name from Capital Cable to Shaw Cablesystems Ltd. Within two years of the change of name the company had grown to become the fourth largest Cable company in Canada. 1988 saw the company make its move into Radio through acquisition to become the proud owners second largest group of stations. The now expanding group needed more space and in 1993 moved to their modern headquarters in Clagary, Alberta. Shaw continued with acquisitions in broadcasting and in 1998 bought Western International Communications to cement its place as Canada’s third largest cable provider. 2005 saw the company continue its diversification by launching its Shaw Home Phone Service. The company later acquired Shaw Broadcast a national distributor of regular TV channels as well as some specialty cable channels. Some of the material is redistributed from US TV channels.
However the biggest move for Shaw Cable was in 2009 when Shaw acquired Mountain Cable limited in Ontario to become Canada’s largest Cable Company. This move ended their 10 year non competition agreement with their main rival, Rogers Cable for the control of the Eastern Canada market. From then it was a bold move after another and the following year 2010, saw them acquire Shaw Media from the broadcasting giant Canwest that controlled many of Canada’s specialty TV networks such as Global TV. This was an important move since Global TV was the leading TV in Canada with a viewership reach of 94% on the English speaking audience. The momentum was on their side and in 2011 started a process of migrating their cable customers from an analogue to a digital platform. The switch was strategic since the move would free a lot of bandwidth space being used by the analogue, meaning they now could use the free space to boost their high speed internet service which had been launched in July 2000. The internet service known as Shaw Business has invested in a vast fiber optic network across the Continent. In 2010 Shaw begun showing some channels in 3D marking a milestone in TV entertainment, however not all viewers have the capability of receiving a 3D signal due to limitations in their sets.
Shaw Cable Marching Ahead
Shaw Cable continued to march ahead and in 2010 announced a partnership with Nokia Siemens for the supply of next generation wireless network to be used to deliver wireless services to customers through an Advanced Wireless Services Band. in 2011 Shaw announced the launch of the Shaw gateway a service that offers customers over 1,200 3D videos on demand that can be shared from the cable to your computer. This service was meant to change the way customers view TV because it made it possible for customers to access the internet through their TV’s. Other additional benefits include a remote scheduling where customers were enabled to set up recordings of programs from their mobile phone while integration social media platforms on the network. The same year saw Shaw purchase Sun Country Cablevision to further solidify its position as the market leader in Cable services. This move allowed Shaw a deeper penetration in the British Columbia market.
In 2012 while we everyone thought that things had cooled of a bit, Shaw came up with the Shaw EXO an upgrade in full HD that does not require you to have a PVR to replay shows, you can catch over 7,000 titles and them on demand and the great thing is, many are for free. The move shows that when Shaw makes a promise to deliver on innovation, the customers benefit by enjoying the latest cutting edge technology. The company was last year honored with an award for being among the top 100 employers in Canada, with an employee force of 14,500 Shaw Communications continues to set the industry standards.Brad Shaw the CEO, attributed the success to the commitment from all employees across all the company’s offices and promised an environment where they will find the company the best place to continue to develop their careers.
The company has not been all about business, throughout it has been involved in many Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives such as ensuring safe TV programming for children, donating to children charities as well as launching an online fun children teaching aid. The company has also used its own channels to promote green practices as well as making donation to charities such as The Land Conservancy in British Columbia to further the cause of the environment. At ShawCable, employees are encouraged to volunteer for community initiatives and any employee clocking 60 hours and above is eligible for a $200 grant to donate to their charity of choice. The company has also been an active supporter of sports and was the leader of the initiative to raise money for Canadian athletes that participated in the 2010 Olympic games in Vancouver.
Shaw Cable Future
Many companies and people get into the Media industry to make a quick profit or to try and control information or entertainment but for J.R. Shaw, his reasons were genuine. All he wanted was for the people of Canada to enjoy quality programming. And when the story of Cable TV in Canada is told many years from now, the one company that has changed the landscape is and still will be there then, is Shaw Cable.