Canada: Traditional TV services still prosperous

A poll conducted through the Ipsos Online Omnibus revealed that 74 per cent of adult online Canadians subscribe to Cable TV/Satellite TV/IPTV. Drilling down deeper, among TV Service Subscribers, half (47 per cent) augment or compliment their service by subscribing to or using one or more OTT content services. In fact, just over a quarter (28 per cent) subscribe to one OTT service, while nearly a fifth (20 per cent) subscribe to two or more OTT services.

“Despite the perception that the medium is being challenged,” says Mary Beth Barbour, Senior Vice President with Ipsos Reid, “the issue isn’t that Canadians are giving up on traditional television services, rather it is that they are satisfying their TV fix through a variety of methods and they are, in fact, supplementing their television services through new services, screens, and technologies.”

Over the years, Canadians have seen the introduction of a number of OTT services, including video subscription services, video retail websites, premium speciality channels and premium TV network website/online subscription services. In their wake, there has been a great focus on the concept of cord cutting and cord shaving.

“There is a lot of buzz on the topic of ‘cord cutting’ and ‘cord shaving’,” explains Barbour. “But given that, the majority of adult Canadians are still subscribing to Cable TV, Satellite TV, or IPTV. We think the story is really about another predominant trend and that is, ’content stacking’, where a number of Canadians are keeping their Cable TV, Satellite TV or IPTV service and subscribing to or using OTT services.” Adds Barbour, “No doubt the addition of OTT services are feeding the emerging trend of ‘binge viewing’, which typically involves watching a number of episodes, from the same series, back to back.”

As a snapshot of Canadians and the way they access TV, the findings also revealed that, among those who subscribe to Cable TV/Satellite TV/IPTV service:

27 per cent subscribe to/use Premium TV Network Speciality Channels (e.g., HBO, Leafs TV, Super Channel, etc.)
20 per cent subscribe to/use Video Subscription Services (e.g., Netflix)
20 per cent subscribe to/use Video Retail Websites (e.g., iTunes, Google Play, Xbox Live)
7 per cent subscribe to/use Premium TV Network Website/Online Subscription Services (e.g., NHL.com, MLB.com, TMNGo.ca)

“As for the 26 per cent of adult Canadians who do not currently subscribe to Cable, Satellite, or IPTV service today, they are composed to some degree of ‘cord cutters’, and we cannot forget about the ‘cord nevers’,” adds Barbour. “That is, the unique category who, upon leaving the nest, opt not to subscribe to any traditional TV service.”

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