Cord cutting to accelerate in Canada

Watch for more Canadians to dump their traditional phone and TV subscriptions, says a new report from Toronto’s Convergence Consulting.

Canadian telco residential wireline telephone line loss was 7 per cent in 2010 (as it was in 2009) and the research company forecasts 8 per cent for 2011 and 9 per cent for 2012 and ‘13. The report, part of the company’s “The Battle for the North American Couch Potato” series, estimates wireless substitution was responsible for 36 per cent of the 2010 loss and that wireless substitution will comprise 49 per cent of the loss in 2011 and 53 per cent in 2012.

“We estimate Canadian wireless-only households at 11 per cent YE2010, and forecast 22 per cent YE2013 (growth is accelerating). Cable represented 32 per cent of residential wireline telephone subs YE2010, up from 28 per cent YE2009, and we forecast 35 per cent YE2011,” says the report.

The report also notes Canadian wireless service ARPU declined 1.5 per cent in 2010, driven by an 8 per cent drop in voice ARPU. The company also forecasts a 1.4 per cent wireless service ARPU decline for 2011. Canada’s Big Three Wireless Providers saw 34 per cent data revenue growth in 2010, and a 1 per cent voice revenue decline. In 2011, it’s looking like a 27 per cent data revenue growth and 4 per cent voice revenue decline.

While Canadian TV subscriber additions in 2009-2010 went the other way (growing with some strength) and were 25 per cent higher than 2008-2009, “based on our Canadian TV Cord Cutting Model (which takes into account the digital transition and annual subscriber additions), we estimate that 2011-2012 will see 1 per cent of Canadian TV subscribers cut their TV subscriptions to rely solely on Online, Netflix, OTA, etc.” reads the report.

Although cable has added TV subs every year since 2004, the Convergence report says cable will see TV subscriber decline in 2011 (as well as 2012 and 2013). “We forecast telcos’ TV market share will grow from 6 per cent YE2010 – up from 4 per cent YE2009 – to 8 per cent YE2011, and 13 per cent YE2013, while satellite share will decline from 24 per cent in 2010 to 22 per cent in 2013,” says the report.

Cable, satellite and telco TV subscription revenue grew 7 per cent to $8.3 billion in 2010 and by year’s end, 24 per cent of TV subs had a digital video recorder (DVR) and 37 per cent had HD. “We forecast PVR at 34 per cent and HD at 54 per cent YE2012,” says the report.

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