Sask. firms hustling to keep cable subscribers as online TV surges

Saskatchewan cable companies are working harder to keep customers tuned in after a new CRTC report shows subscriptions flatlining.

Saskatchewan cable companies are working harder to keep customers tuned in after a new CRTC report shows subscriptions flatlining. 

The report also shows younger customers are more likely to choose high-speed internet to watch television. 

In Saskatoon, Shaw bundles cable with phone and internet and is pushing long-term contracts.

At SaskTel, sales representatives tell customers how to cash in on promotion after promotion.

SaskTel spokeswoman Michelle Englot said at the end of last year the company had 97,000 Max TV subscribers. 

"We're seeing that number has plateaued a little bit, but it does continue to grow," Englot said.

"And we know with the other content providers and over-the-top providers such as Netflix and things like web-based content like that, we do need to continue to focus on providing our customers with a strong level of service."  

More than 70,000 people in Saskatchewan get their cable through Access Communications, according to its CEO Jim Deane. 

"Our customers are saying that they still want local service," said Deane. "They want friendly service. They want prompt service. Local's important."

Deane admits cable subscriptions have plateaued in the past few years as internet subscriptions are growing faster, but he believes television is not dying.

Local events and live sports are still the biggest draw, he said.     

"You know, at the same time I don't think Netflix changes the need or the desire to have cable television," Deane said. "At the end of the day, the only way we're going to see the Riders play away games is on TSN."

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