Brad Shaw addresses BES lunch crowd

The Shaw Communications CEO talks about the future of TV and the company's desire to 'enthrall' Canadians with content.

The Broadcast Executives Society luncheon series continued its comeback with a flourish yesterday at the Four Seasons hotel in Toronto.

With Shaw Communications CEO Brad Shaw on tap as keynote speaker, the room was packed with a sold-out crowd, keen to hear what Shaw had to say in one of his first addresses to the industry after taking on his new role last fall. The luncheon was the third in the BES luncheon series since the events went on hiatus during the recession.

Shaw took the opportunity to extol the virtues of television and to make clear that his company didn’t make a ‘$2 billion dollar risk’ because it thinks TV is in any kind of trouble.

‘We have made a big bet on the future of conventional television because we believe the future is bright…We took a big risk, a $2 billion dollar risk, and it was fraught with challenges.’

Referring to January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, he said that despite all the hype about new media, television remains at the centre of consumer entertainment.

‘Despite some rumours to the contrary,’ he said, ‘there is no question that television will remain the primary medium to deliver content, engage viewers and drive advertiser’s content to viewers.’

Shaw then quickly outlined his background in the company – which his father started almost 50 years ago – and assured the audience that Shaw’s pockets are full and ready to invest in its new conventional and specialty portfolio.

‘With 3.4 million customers and $750 million a year in capital investment, we’ve learned a thing or two about Canadians and more importantly to today, what they are willing to pay for,’ he said, alluding back to his opening statement, in which he made no bones about Canadians’ willingness to pay for quality content. ‘We want viewers to be so enthralled with our programming that they will stand in line to pay for the services and products we offer.’

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