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Canada: Digital platforms increasingly popular

November 9, 2017

Canadians are increasingly turning to platforms and devices connected to the Internet for their video and audio content, according to the 2017 Communications Monitoring Report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Canadians aged 18-34 years old are leading the trend with 23 per cent watching TV exclusively online. Nationally, 13 per cent of Anglophones watch TV exclusively online compared to only 4 per cent of Francophones. Overall, Canadians aged 18 years or older watched 3.1 hours of Internet TV per week in 2016, compared to 2.7 hours in 2015.

Although Canadians are spending less time with traditional television and radio services, these platforms continue to play an important role in their lives. Canadians watched on average 26.6 hours per week of traditional television in 2016, compared to 27.2 hours in 2015. Canadians aged 65 and over watched the most television at 42.8 hours per week.

A similar trend is occurring for audio content. Twenty-two per cent of Canadians aged 18 years or older streamed AM/FM stations online, while more than 55 per cent streamed music videos on Internet-based services. Twenty-seven per cent of Canadians aged 18 years or older streamed personalised music, compared to 20 per cent in 2015.

Regarding traditional radio, Canadians listened to an average of 14.5 hour per week, down from 15.6 hours per week in 2015. Canadians aged 65 and over listened to the most radio at 18 hours per week.

“This year’s report shows how much younger Canadians are turning to digital platforms for their audio and visual content,” noted Ian Scott, Chairperson and CEO of the CRTC. “That being said, traditional broadcasters are adapting to this reality and their services continue to be attractive options for many Canadians.”

Among the main findings:

  • Broadcasting sector
    • Broadcasting revenues, which include radio, TV and television service providers’ revenues, decreased slightly by 0.5 per cent to C$17.85 billion (€12.09bn) in 2016.
    • Revenues from the radio sector decreased by 2 per cent to C$1.8 billion.
    • Revenues from the television sector increased by 1.7 per cent to C$7.3 billion.
    • Revenues for television service providers decreased 2.1 per cent to C$8.7 billion.
  • Radio sector
    • The time spent by Canadians listening to traditional radio has decreased by an hour per week, from 15.6 hours in 2015 to 14.5 in 2016.
    • Among Canadians who listened to English-language radio stations, over 46 per cent tuned in to either CBC Radio One, a country or adult contemporary station. By contrast, French-language Canadians tune in more to the news/talk radio format than the English market.
    • In 2016, radio broadcasters invested C$47 million in support of the development and promotion of Canadian musical and spoken word content.
  • Television sector
    • The time spent by Canadians watching traditional television decreased by less than an hour over the last year, from 27.2 hours in 2015 to 26.6 hours in 2016.
    • Internet Protocol television (IPTV) service providers are gaining ground with almost
      300,000 new subscribers in 2016, a 13.8 per cent increase over the previous year.
    • Cable, IPTV and satellite TV services had 11.1 million subscribers in 2016, a 1.1 per cent decline from 2015.
    • Collectively, broadcasters and television service providers invested C$3.1 billion in the production of Canadian programming in 2016.
  • Digital platforms
    • Overall, 44 per cent of Canadians subscribe to online video services, with Albertans having the highest subscription rate in the country at 56 per cent.
    • Younger Canadians are more likely to subscribe to online video services, with a subscription rate of more than 64 per cent for 18-34 year olds, a 3 per cent increase from 2015.
    • Sixty per cent of Anglophones and 54 per cent of Francophones watched Internet TV in the past month.
    • The national subscription rate of satellite radio has remained unchanged over the past three years at 16 per cent.
    • Estimated revenues for online video services in Canada reached almost C$2 billion in 2016, an increase of 17.7 per cent from 2015.  This includes foreign and domestic video services viewed by Canadians.


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