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While selling the last of my Shaw stock, my broker mentioned that the Shaw Yearly Report for the last fiscal year will show a churn rate greater than 16% for Shaw Direct (of which I was 1).

At this present churn rate, he predicts that SD will go cash flow negative in 2012 when the costs for G1 (& associated new uplink hardware are included). He expects SD to abandon all sales activity in Eastern Canada at that time. They will probably keep promoting in Western Canada in areas where Shaw Mobile will be available in order to compete against the Telus Satellite/Cell package.

When the new Bell/Shaw satellites become active in 2012; Bell will have 96 transponders, Shaw will have 30% less - only 68.
 

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When the new Bell/Shaw satellites become active in 2012; Bell will have 96 transponders
How do you figure that? Nimiq 6 is a replacement for the two satellites currently at 91 (doing the work of one satellite.) It will not provide any new DBS transponders. Bell's new expansion slot was at 72.5 using Nimiq 5. They leased those DBS transponders to Dish, effectively eliminating their expansion capabilities using current technology. Bell's next major increase in channels will be enabled by implementing MPEG4 for existing HD channels. That is still some time away due to the need to swap MPEG2 only receivers.
 

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+ 16% Churn
What does that mean?

I've never seen a Churn rate described as plus anything since by definition you can't have a negative churn rate.

Can you tell us how you came up with this number?

If this is simply the summation of monthly churn for the fiscal year then its not really an accurate figure. A 1% - 1.5% monthly churn is not unreasonable. Even at 1.5%, it means that the average customer has Shaw Direct for about 66 months.
 

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Looking at my copy of the Shaw third quarter report, it looks like SD was on the way to an annual loss of between 140,000 to 150,000 subs. They showed a net gain of less than 5,000 for the last fiscal year.

The cost to acquire new subs is in the $600 to $700 range. So SD spent between $84m to $105m on replacing the subs who quit.

In 2012:

Bell
82 - 32 transponders
91 - 32 transponders

Total - 64

Shaw

107 - 46 transponders ( 30 ku + 16 Extended Ku)
111 - 22 transponders

Total 68. If they order G2 Extended Ku bird for 111, they will have 84 active transponders.
 

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Clear illustration of the old statistics and damn lies rule, I guess. :rolleyes:

But common sense says that SD must be having a hard time keeping subscribers, at least out west where Telus and Shaw Cable are in keen competition for the TV business. Those companies are offering cutthroat promotional pricing including telephone and internet bundles. SD doesn't offer promotional pricing out west at all, and they don't have any bundles to offer. At least SD now has a new receiver and PVR - great, but they failed to deliver on upgrade promises to customers who bought the previous model (where's our MPEG-4 add-on, or our guide extended beyond 3 days?). And they're not yet offering any upgrade deals yet to existing subscribers. Telus and Shaw Cable are renting their hardware monthly or offering it for free on promotional deals, making it pretty easy to switch.

And there's an additional problem for SD. I very nearly left this month simply because my dish needs moving, and I might still. Those competing Telus/SC offers are looking pretty attractive compared to the inconvenience of moving, re-mounting and re-aligning the dish up on the roof in the cold winter rain. While SD will install a new dish for free, they won't assist existing customers to move the dish to keep it functional. Why wouldn't I switch to one of the competing services for the winter with their great promotional pricing? All it would take is one phone call. Maybe I'd come back in the spring as a new SD customer to get a free dish install - or maybe I wouldn't. I can understand SD having firm cost-control policies - but have they done the math on the small cost of services to keep existing subscribers versus the monthly revenue they bring in for near-zero incremental cost?

So does SD still have a competitive business model? Will they find a way of holding on to existing customers cost-effectively, without bribing them with competitive promotional offers or investing a huge amount in new equipment giveaways? Will they ever get bundling with Shaw Cable sorted out? (or does Shaw corporate even care?)
 

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It sounds like Shaw Direct is going to follow the model of Directv, with the use of B Band. What if Bell has more transponders? What does it matter, if you don't have programming to fill those transponders. The only reason Directv has so much capacity, is the need to have every local channel in High Definition possible. Maybe Shaw will follow and spotbeam some of the locals, here in Canada.
 

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What does it matter, if you don't have programming to fill those transponders.
Bell is most likely close to maxing out their capacity using MPEG2. I've said that before but they have used some questionable (and very unreliable when first introduced) technology to squeeze more HD channels onto their system. BSTV is missing some channels that Rogers and Shaw direct have and is dropping HDNet so more channels are available, just not carried at this time. BSTV also uses come questionable techniques to boost their HD channel count, such as including part time channels that are not carried concurrently with other part time channels that are also counted, essentially creating a false total for any given time.
 

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While SD will install a new dish for free, they won't assist existing customers to move the dish to keep it functional.
SD will send out a tech to fix anything that is wrong with your dish/wiring if you call them for a service call
 

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Churn rate is a meaningless stat unless one knows the time period measured and the method of calculation.

The simpliest method is to divide the # of subs leaving/accounts written off by the number of subs at the start of the period. So the 1.5% that Sirius Guy was told means that 13500 subs left which means nothing unless one knows the length of time measured. Is it 1.5/month or 1.5/year?

If it is by the month that leads to ~ 18% annually - assuming there is no cyclical aspect. The 140,000 annual estimate that 987... posted leads to a 15.5% annual churn rate. Hugh's numbers show the churn rate measured over 66 months would be 100.

In SD's case, if indeed they have the lowest churn, it merely highlights their inability to gain new customers at the same rate as their major competitors.
 

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No, service calls are free. If a CSR told you $50, they didn't know what they were talking about, or there is some other circumstance that you haven't mentioned here.
 

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I don't know what to tell you. Maybe because they would have to move the dish? Maybe because it's in BC? Anyway, they were quite definite that it would cost $50 to send someone out on a service call.
 

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They have always advertised that when you move, leave the dish behind, and they will install a new one at the new location at no charge (I think). Do they understand that you are moving and want to continue your account??
 

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I have heard that they will install a new dish if you leave the old one behind when you move, but I'm not moving. I need to move the dish because construction of a new high-rise house next door has blocked the sight line from where it was originally installed.
 

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Then, you have two choices:
1) Pay the service charge. It seems reasonable since you will probably need to have new coax RG6 installed. You could try to ask the high-rise owner to pay the bill for your "continuing good will":).
2) Wait until construction of the high rise causes signal-loss problems, then call Shaw Direct for a service call for "poor reception".
or 3) Move. Get a free dish installed at the new location. :)
 
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