Shaw TV stations to close in Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton as funds diverted to Global

Shaw television stations in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver will be shut down this summer, affecting about 70 jobs, as the company redirects funds to Global News instead.

Corus Entertainment and Shaw Communications announced the move Wednesday, saying it would reduce "duplication of coverage."

Corus acquired Shaw's media arm, which includes Global, in a $2.65-billion deal last year.

The Shaw TV stations will go off the air as of Aug. 15, the company said.

Then, beginning Sept. 1, 2017, Global News will get a boost of about $10 million a year, aimed at bolstering local coverage of municipal governments, community news and university-level sports.

In a release, Shaw said the move comes in response to "the evolving news consumption habits of viewers in these major metropolitan areas."

Regulatory changes approved last year by the CRTC give television providers like Shaw "the flexibility to transfer funds to over-the-air television stations to support production of local news," the release added.

Sally Haney, a journalism professor at Mount Royal University, says the stations being shuttered offered "hyper-local" programming, but at the end of the day, didn't have the viewership to continue.

"It's pretty tough to pour any resources into a product that has no audience," she said.

"You have a special kind of programming there that is truly hyper-local. It's about community. It's a little longer. It's very grassroots. And I think you're losing a certain type of programming as a result of shuttering these three stations."

Viewership has declined by an average of 75 per cent at the three stations over the last six years, the company said.

Shaw TV stations will continue in:

- Victoria, Nanaimo and Kelowna in B.C.

- Saskatoon and Winnipeg in the Prairies.

- Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario.

- Other smaller markets.