Canadians watching less linear TV

Findings from the 2014 Communications Monitoring Report released by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) suggest that with Canadians watching television programming across multiple platforms there has been a modest increase in the overall average number of weekly television viewing hours, but the time spent watching traditional television each week decreased slightly across all age groups.

The greatest decline occurred among 18-to-34-year-olds, where average viewing dropped by 3.9 per cent, from 22.8 hours in 2012 to 21.9 hours in 2013.

Adult Canadians supplemented this viewing by watching 1.9 hours of television content over the Internet per week, an increase from 1.3 hours in 2012. In particular, Netflix adoption among English speakers grew from 21 per cent to 29 per cent and for French speakers increased from 5 per cent to 7 per cent.

The percentage of households subscribing to cable, satellite and IPTV services decreased slightly from 85.6 per cent, or 11.93 million households, to 84.9 per cent, or 11.92 million households.

Canadians are also listening to audio content on a variety of devices. On average, Canadians listened to 19.3 hours of radio per week in 2013, down slightly from 19.6 hours in 2012. Twenty percent of Canadians streamed the signal of an AM or FM station online and 18 per cent accessed personalised online music streaming services.

In 2013, total broadcast revenues increased 1.3 per cent to reach $17.1 billion. The sector invested $2.7 billion in the creation of new television content made by Canadians, as well as $52 million in the creation of Canadian audio content and to support Canadian artists.

Among selected report findings:

Choice of services

  • Canadians had access to 644 television services authorised to broadcast in 2013, including 374 English-language services, 84 French-language services and 186 services in other languages.

  • The total number of authorised radio services was 1,174, including 885 English-language services, 244 French-language services and 45 services in other languages.

Television

  • Average weekly viewing of traditional television remained consistent, going from 28.2 hours in 2012 to 27.9 hours in 2013. Among Canadians 18 years of age and up, average weekly viewing decreased slightly, going from 29.5 hours in 2012 to 29.3 hours in 2013.

  • The percentage of households subscribing to cable and satellite services decreased slightly from 85.6 per cent, or 11.93 million, to 84.9 per cent, or 11.92 million.

  • For Canadians 18 years or older, average weekly viewing of Internet television increased from 1.3 hours in 2012 to 1.9 hours in 2013.

  • The adoption of Internet TV among English speakers increased from 38 per cent to 42 per cent. Internet TV adoption for French speakers increased from 34 per cent to 39 per cent. Nationally, over 40 per cent of adults used Internet TV in 2013.

  • The percentage of English speakers that watched Internet TV on a tablet doubled from 6 per cent in 2012 to 12 per cent in 2013. Among French speakers, watching Internet TV on a tablet more than doubled, going from 4 per cent in 2012 to 10 per cent in 2013.

  • Access of Internet TV via mobile phone for English speakers increased from 7 per cent in 2012 to 12 per cent in 2013. Mobile-phone Internet TV access among French speakers increased from 4 per cent to 7 per cent.

  • Netflix adoption among English speakers grew from 21 per cent to 29 per cent. Adoption for French speakers increased from 5 per cent to 7 per cent.

Radio

  • On average, Canadians listened to 19.3 hours of radio per week in 2013, down slightly from 19.6 hours in 2012.

  • Growth of satellite radio subscription was essentially static. Among English speakers, adoption increased slightly from 16 per cent in 2012 to 17 per cent in 2013. Among French speakers, 7 per cent subscribed, the same as in 2012.

  • Adoption of AM/FM online streaming remained the same: 22 per cent among English speakers and 14 per cent among French speakers. Nationally, 20 per cent of Canadians streamed AM/FM radio online in 2013.

  • Approximately 18 per cent of Canadians used personalised online music streaming services in 2013.

Investments in content made by Canadians

  • The television industry as a whole spent $2.7 billion on Canadian programming, 16 per cent of which was spent on programmes of national interest such as dramas, comedies, award shows and documentaries.

  • Private conventional television stations invested $605 million in Canadian programs.

  • Pay, speciality, pay-per-view and video-on-demand services invested $1.3 billion in Canadian programs.

  • The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/Société Radio-Canada (CBC/SRC) invested $701 million in Canadian programmes.

  • Other public and not-for-profit conventional television stations invested $75 million in Canadian programmes.

  • Cable and satellite companies contributed $467 million to fund Canadian programming, including programmes for community channels.

  • Radio stations invested over $52 million to the creation of Canadian content and the support of Canadian artists.

  • The production and acquisition of programming is a broadcaster’s largest expense, representing 63 cents of every revenue dollar.

Revenues

  • Broadcast sector revenues totalled $17.1 billion in 2013, a 1.3 per cent increase from 2012.

  • Revenues for private commercial radio stations increased by 0.1 per cent, going from $1.62 billion in 2012 to $1.623 billion in 2013.

  • Overall television revenues decreased 0.2 per cent, from $6.51 billion in 2012 to $6.50 billion in 2013.

  • Private conventional television broadcasters’ revenues decreased by 4.6 per cent, from $2.04 billion to $1.94 billion.

  • Pay, speciality, pay-per-view and video-on-demand service revenues increased by 3.1 per cent, from $3.97 billion to $4.09 billion.

  • Revenues for CBC/Radio-Canada decreased from $508 million to $464 million.

  • Revenues for broadcast distribution companies such as cable, satellite and IPTV providers increased 2.7 per cent from $8.8 billion in 2012 to $9 billion in 2013.

  • Revenues for providers of IPTV service over a managed network increased 58.2 per cent from $585.4 million to $926.1 million.

Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman, said the Report provided timely information on the broadcasting sector, particularly as the Commission prepared its ‘Let’s Talk TV’ public hearing to discuss the future of television beginning on September 8. “The data appears to show that Canadians are maintaining their subscriptions to traditional television services, even as they are making greater use of Internet-based services. We look forward to gathering more input during the hearing to ensure that Canadian television is able to adapt to changing viewing habits and technologies,” he added.

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