Digital TV subscription households in Canada top 10 million at year-end 2011

Monday, April 30th, 2012 
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IPTV providers quickly gaining market share

OTTAWA — The number of Canadian households subscribing to a digital television service (digital cable, satellite TV, or IPTV) topped 10 million for the first time at the end of 2011, according to the latest research from Ottawa-based research and consulting firm Boon Dog Professional Services Inc.

According to the newly published report in Boon Dog’s Canadian Digital TV Market Monitor research series, the number of digital TV subscription households increased by 10% or more than 890,000 in 2011 to surpass 10 million, compared to 10% growth or more than 850,000 a year earlier.

“Our research shows that 85% of Canadian TV subscription households had a digital service as opposed to analog service at the end of 2011, up from 79% a year earlier,” says Mario Mota, Boon Dog Co-founder and Partner, and principal author of the Canadian Digital TV Market Monitor research series. “The percentage of TV subscription households receiving traditional analog cable reached an all-time low of 15% as many cable companies push to migrate their remaining analog customers to their digital offerings.”

Boon Dog’s research also shows that the overall traditional TV subscription market in Canada (analog and digital combined) continues to grow despite an increasing number of Internet-based alternatives available to consumers, such as Netflix. Approximately 11.8 million households subscribed to a traditional TV service (cable, satellite, or IPTV) at the end of 2011, up from about 11.5 million in 2010.

“The shut down of analog over-the-air TV transmission, population growth, and the emergence of strong IPTV competitors all contributed to the increase in traditional TV subscriptions in 2011,” says Mota.

A selection of key findings from Boon Dog’s latest research include the following:

  • At December 31, 2011, cable had a 63% share of digital TV households, followed by satellite at 29%, and IPTV at 9% (see chart), compared to 62% (cable), 31% (satellite), and 6% (IPTV) a year earlier;
  • IPTV’s share of the digital TV market is forecast to nearly double to about 17% by the end of 2014 at the expense of both satellite and cable;
  • An estimated 52% of all digital TV households (or more than 5.1 million) were HDTV- ready at the end of 2011, meaning they have an HDTV set-top box that allows them to watch true HDTV programming; and
  • At December 31, 2011, an estimated 69% of all digital TV households (or more than 6.8 million) had access to video-on-demand (VOD) through their cable or IPTV service provider.