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Innovating for Canadians: Remarks from President & CEO Tony Staffieri at our 2024 Annual and Special Meeting

Good morning, everyone.

Welcome to our Sportsnet studios, home of Canada’s #1 sports network.

Last year, 75% of Canadians tuned in to watch Sportsnet and viewership is up 15% over the last year. 

It’s clear, demand for our services is growing, and we’re growing with it.

I believe we are uniquely positioned with our incredible mix of communications assets and our powerhouse media brands.

Ultimately, we want to give Canadians more reasons to choose Rogers.

As I reflect on the last two years, this strategy is working.

We delivered industry-leading results, completed an industry-leading merger, and drove industry-leading innovation.

We are fundamentally a different company than we were a few years ago.

We went from last to leading.

We delivered two straight years of growth, and this morning we announced our 9th consecutive quarter of industry leading performance.

We closed Shaw and doubled our Cable business.

We are now #1 in almost every key metric.

Simply put, we out executed our competitors.

Looking at 2023, we grew top line revenue by 27%, and adjusted EBITDA by 34%.

We led in Wireless market share with 674,000 postpaid net customer additions.

We accelerated growth in Cable delivering industry-leading margins.

And we grew revenue in media by 3% and EBITDA by 12%.

We are firing on all cylinders, and I am proud of our team’s disciplined execution.

But we’re relentless, and we’re never satisfied with the status quo. There’s always more work to do.

That’s why we’re focused on growing cable subscribers, divesting one billion dollars in non-core assets, and reducing our debt leverage ratio back to pre-merger levels.

Notwithstanding our performance, our sector’s valuation has been overly dampened of late due to factors largely outside of our control. But we see these as short-term, as the capital markets realize our fundamentals are sound, and our government continues to stay the course on industry policies that promote investment in our sector.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we have stable regulatory policy that encourages innovation, rewards investment and increases competition based on investment in infrastructure.

We will continue to advocate for smart public policy while we do everything we can, to strengthen our fundamentals and our underlying business.

Taking a step back, we have been delivering industry-leading results while closing the largest merger in Canadian telecom history.

Earlier this month we celebrated our one-year anniversary.

In our first year, we integrated the two companies, and we are six months ahead on our integration plan.

We achieved our $1 billion synergy target, in half the time and one year ahead of schedule.

We invested $1.5 billion in our networks across the west.

We introduced more affordable plans for low-income Canadians, and we lowered the cost of wireless data and residential services. 

In Canada, wireless prices are down 26% and they are lower in Canada than in the U.S.

We have also invested in quality, and Canadians enjoy the best networks in the world.

We also delivered more competitive products from Internet to home monitoring and bundled services.

We’re delivering real competition and taking more share.

We have seen healthy subscriber gains and great growth opportunity in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Overall, we met or exceeded the year one merger commitments we set for ourselves.

To keep this momentum, we need to invest and innovate.

In 2023, we made key strategic investments in innovation.

We led and brought 5G to Toronto’s subway system.

We partnered with SpaceX and Lynk Global to connect Canadians in the most remote parts of our country. And we plan to bring satellite to mobile talk and text later this year.

We invested in wildfire detection technology that, combined with Rogers 5G and satellite technology, will protect communities from the devastating impact of climate change. This is not a revenue driver for Rogers, it’s just the right thing to do.

We trialed new network slicing technology using our 5G wireless network that will give businesses and first responders dedicated lanes of network traffic, so their work is not hampered in any way.

And we introduced Rogers 5G Home Internet, that runs on Canada’s largest, most reliable 5G wireless network.

We also recently announced the establishment of CableLabs North in Calgary. We are taking our involvement and research and development work with CableLabs based in Denver, to further technology that converges our wireless 5G network with our leading 10G Home internet network, to create a seamless “always on” experience for customers. And we are developing this world leading innovation right here in Canada.

In our quest to bring the best to Canadians, we announced today a new ten-year strategic partnership with Comcast to bring their next generation of world-class Xfinity products and services to Canadians, only on the Rogers network.

Comcast is a world leader in technology and it connects more than 50 million homes and businesses globally.

This partnership will change the way Canadians connect to the internet and experience entertainment.

Traffic on our network has grown 200% over the past five years and today the average Canadian home has 20 connected devices.

Reliance on Broadband is only going up and through our new 10G internet we will bring Canadians the best internet experience in the world. Period.

10G will deliver multi-gigabit speeds, ultra-low latency, and even better reliability, so customers can post, stream, game and take video calls all at the same time.

And we will converge our 5G and 10G networks so we can seamlessly connect our customers in and out of the home.

And to ensure the best reliability, in those rare instances when there’s a power outage or a storm, Canadians can depend on our new storm ready internet product, which will seamlessly connect home internet to our wireless network.

This technology is truly the first of its kind in Canada that will deliver always-on internet with wireless backup.

We’re already trialing the service in customers’ homes and the early feedback has been great. We look forward to introducing this service to Canadians later this year.

Xfinity will also bring the next level of premium entertainment experience.

This new service will bring live sports, entertainment, and news with on demand and streaming apps all into one, simple viewing experience without the need to hop to different apps.

It means customers will spend more time watching and less time searching.

We’re proud to partner with Comcast to bring Canadians the best – the best networks, the best content, and the best experiences.

As Edward said, that’s been our legacy for 65 years, and it will be our legacy for at least the next 65.

In closing, I am confident in our plan, our team, and our future.

I would like to thank Edward and the board for their support, our team for their relentless dedication and our shareholders for their confidence.

As Ted would say, the best is yet to come.

Thank you.

Photo credit: George Pimentel