Shaw Communications Inc.

Shaw Communications Inc.

September 25, 2007 08:30 ET

Shaw Communications Inc.: CRTC's USA Network Decision is Anti-Consumer

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Sept. 25, 2007) - Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR.B) (NYSE:SJR) is extremely disappointed with the CRTC's decision to deny Canadians' access to USA Network, the #1 basic cable programming service in the United States.

In January 2007, Shaw applied to add USA Network to the lists of non-Canadian services that Canadians are allowed to receive. The CRTC turned down the application on September 19 to protect the niche Canadian digital service "Mystery TV", which airs only three of the same programs.

"The CRTC is continuing on a path of protectionism for the benefit of certain Canadian programmers at the expense of Canadian television customers" said Peter Bissonnette, President of Shaw Communications Inc. "Shaw strongly believes that Canadians deserve access to the best national and international sources of programming - that is what the Broadcasting Act promises."

Even CanWest, which owns Mystery TV with TVA, acknowledged in its intervention on the issue that "USA Network is truly a general interest service. It does not limit itself to any one particular genre but is rather a leading provider of original series, off-network television shows, sports events and block-buster theatrical events".

The CRTC's decision to prevent access to the USA Network is particularly surprising given its statements in recent speeches and proceedings about the need to focus on consumers and respond to the challenges of black market satellite, the internet and other new technologies. "We find it paradoxical that the CRTC released this decision while in the middle of a hearing to ensure that a diversity of voices is available to Canadian audiences," said Peter Bissonnette. "As we told the Commission last week, the health of the broadcasting system depends on providing Canadians with the greatest possible diversity of both Canadian and non-Canadian choices. Shaw is doing everything in its power to provide our customers with that choice and diversity."

USA Network is a unique general interest service that would add exciting and innovative programming to the Canadian broadcasting system. Seen in 90 million US homes, USA Network is a leading provider of top-rated theatrical films and original series, including Monk, Dead Zone, The 4400, Psych, Burn Notice and new episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.

About Shaw Communications Inc.

Shaw Communications Inc. is a diversified communications company with 577,000 kilometres of fibre, whose core business is providing broadband cable television, High-Speed Internet, Digital Phone, telecommunications services (through Shaw Business Solutions) and satellite direct-to-home services (through Star Choice) to 3.2 million customers. Shaw is traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges and is included in the S&P/TSX 60 Index (TSX:SJR.B)(NYSE:SJR).

Contact Information