CRTC issues annual report on the state of the Canadian communication system

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 
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OTTAWA-GATINEAU — Today, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued the 2013 edition of its Communications Monitoring Report, which provides an overview of the Canadian communication system.

“This year’s edition of the report contains a wealth of information and is intended to assist those that participate in our public proceedings,” said Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. “It is interesting to note that Canadians’ habits are evolving. More Canadians than ever are watching and listening to content on their computers, smartphones and tablets, yet the vast majority of programming is still accessed through traditional television and radio services.”

“While Canadians generally are well-served by their communication system, the Commission must remain vigilant and responsive to emerging trends and issues,” Mr. Blais added. “Canadians in rural parts of our country, and especially in the North, do not enjoy the same telecommunications services as those living in urban centres. We are working to provide those Canadians with an even greater choice.”

Canadians are accessing more content on different platforms

In 2012, Canadians spent almost the same amount of time listening to the radio and watching television as they did the previous year. They listened to an average of 17.5 hours of radio each week, compared to 17.7 hours in 2011. Canadians also watched an average of 28.2 hours of television per week, down slightly from 28.5 hours. Collectively, they watched 931.3 million hours of television per week, 48.9% of which were Canadian programs.

At the same time, more than two out of four Canadians owned a smartphone and more than one out of four owned a tablet. Canadians used these devices, as well as computers and laptops, to access programming on digital platforms.

Thirty-three percent of Canadians watched Internet television; typical users watched 3 hours of Internet television per week, an increase from 2.8 hours in 2011. Six percent of Canadians watched programming on a tablet or smartphone, while 4% report watching television programming exclusively online.

In addition, 20% of Canadians streamed the signal of an AM or FM station over the Internet, 14% streamed audio content on a smartphone, 13% streamed a personalized Internet music service and 8% streamed audio on a tablet.

Overall, anglophones spent 20.1 hours per week online, while francophones spent 13 hours per week online.

In 2012, the broadcasting industry contributed $3.4 billion to the creation and promotion of Canadian programming, an increase of $263 million from the previous year.

Television services

In 2012, the number of households that subscribed to basic television service increased by 1% to 12 million. Over 68 percent of Canadians television subscribers obtained this service from a cable company, 24% from a satellite company and 8% from companies that deliver television programming over telephone lines (known as an Internet Protocol television service). Canadian families spent an average of $52 per month on television services, which was a few cents less than what they spent a year earlier.

Broadcasting distribution – Basic and non-basic subscribers (thousands)

                                                                                CAGR
                             2008      2009      2010      2011      2012  2008-2012
                         --------  --------  --------  --------  --------  ---------
Cable                     7,691.7   7,782.7   7,877.0   7,858.5   7,682.6       0.0%
IPTV                        225.0     311.4     416.9     657.3   1,002.4      45.3%
DTH and MDS               2,699.5   2,760.9   2,862.1   2,877.4   2,825.7       1.1%
Reporting BDUs subtotal  10,616.3  10,854.9  11,156.0  11,393.2  11,510.7       2.0%
Non-reporting BDUs          350.2     365.2     371.4     463.1     463.1       7.2%
Total subscribers        10,966.4  11,220.1  11,527.4  11,856.3  11,973.8       2.2%

Number of subscribers is as of 31 August each year.
Non-reporting BDU data based on estimates.
Minor variances are due to rounding.

Source: CRTC data collection

Top Canadian distributors and number of subscribers (thousands)

                                                                   CAGR
                        2009    2010    2011    2012    2013  2009-2013
                      ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ---------
Cable                  7,183   7,284   7,305   7,260   7,028      -0.5%
  RCI(1)               2,312   2,296   2,303   2,276   2,189      -1.4%
  Shaw(2)              2,274   2,329   2,313   2,257   2,137      -1.5%
  Videotron(1)         1,729   1,786   1,809   1,854   1,849       1.7%
  Cogeco(2)              868     874     881     873     853      -0.4%

DTH and IPTV           2,761   2,872   2,950   3,022   3,077       2.8%
  Star Choice(2,3)       897     903     906     911     907       0.3%
  BCE Inc(1,4)         1,864   1,969   2,043   2,112   2,170       3.9%
                      ------  ------  ------  ------  ------  ---------
TOTAL                  9,944  10,156  10,255  10,283  10,105       0.4%
  Percentage growth      1.9     2.1     1.0     0.3    -1.7

1. As of fiscal year ending 31 March each year.
2. As of fiscal year ending 28 February each year.
3. Star Choice Television Network Inc. is controlled by Shaw Communications Inc.
4. BCE includes Bell ExpressVu LLP, DTH and Bell Canada VDSL-based IPTV. Includes Northwestel as of 2011.

RCI = Rogers Communications Inc

Source: Corporate quarterly reports