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Canadians continue to shift towards digital platforms

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has released the first part of the CRTC’s 2016 Communications Monitoring Report showing how the viewing and listening habits of Canadians are transforming the broadcasting industry.

Canadians are consuming more audio and video content on digital media and over devices connected to the Internet. Twenty percent of Canadians report listening to online music streaming services, and 57 per cent of Anglophones and 49 per cent of Francophones report watching online TV.

In general, Canadians are still listening to traditional radio, however, a closer look at the data shows that younger Canadians have different listening habits than other age groups. In fact, those between 12 and 24 years old listen to half the amount of traditional radio than other Canadians do.

The same phenomenon is occurring in the television sector. Even if, overall, Canadians are still watching television the traditional way, those in the 12-17 and 18-34 year-old age groups are watching less traditional television than in previous years. Conversely, Canadians 65 years and older watch more than twice the amount of traditional TV than younger ones do.

Report highlights

Broadcasting sector

  • Broadcasting revenues, which include radio, TV and television service providers’ revenues, decreased slightly by 1.6 per cent to $17.9 billion.
  • Revenues from the radio sector decreased by 1.2 per cent to $1.9 billion.
  • Revenues from the television sector decreased by 3.4 per cent to $7.1 billion.
  • Revenues for television service providers remained stable at $8.9 billion.

Radio sector

  • Canadians are listening to an average of 16.2 hours of radio per week, which represents a slight decrease of 1.8 per cent from 2014.
  • 12 to 24 year olds only listen to an average of 8.2 hours of traditional radio per week (half of the time other Canadians spend listening).

Television sector

  • Canadians watched an average of 27.2 hours of television per week by traditional means in 2015 (over-the-air, via cable, satellite and IPTV. This represents a minor decrease of 0.7 per cent from 2014.
  • The age groups that have seen the most significant decreases in traditional TV viewing are 12-17 year olds (decrease of 5.5 per cent) and 18-34 year olds (decrease of 4.4 per cent).
  • 12 to 34 year olds watch the least TV (19 hours per week), while those who are 65+ years old watch the most TV (42 hours per week).
  • Cable, IPTV and satellite TV services had 11.2 million subscribers in 2015, a 1.4 per cent decline from 2014.
  • Canadians who subscribed to a TV service mostly subscribe to cable (60 per cent in 2015). However, subscriptions to cable TV are declining (from 69 per cent in 2011).
  • IPTV service, conversely, is rapidly growing, obtaining 19.2 per cent of total subscribers in 2015, compared to 5.8 per cent in 2011, representing a 34.9 per cent growth. Moreover, IPTV providers reported, for the first time, over 2 million subscribers in 2015.
  • Collectively, TV broadcasters invested nearly $3 billion in the production of Canadian programming in 2015.

Digital platforms

  • 23 per cent of Canadians stream AM/FM radio online, an increase of 1 per cent over 2014.
  • 55 per cent stream music videos on YouTube, an increase of 3 per cent over 2014.
  • 20 per cent of Canadians listen to music on online streaming services, an increase of 2 per cent over 2014.
  • Between 2014 and 2015 the percentage of Anglophones who watched online TV increased by 6 per cent reaching 57 per cent while Francophones increased by 7 per cent reaching 49 per cent.
  • Canadians watching TV exclusively online remained stable at 8 per cent in 2015. This number has doubled since 2012.

Jean-Pierre Blais, CRTC Chairman and CEO, commented: “This year’s report clearly shows that viewing and listening habits are continuing to shift. Younger Canadians are the ones who consume the least amount of audio-visual content using traditional ways. Online platforms are increasingly attractive and accessible to Canadians. The broadcasting industry must ensure that it meets the changing needs of Canadians, who increasingly want to watch and listen to content on the platform of their choice.”

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