Cord-cutting in Canada reaches record level in 2016

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017
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‘Cord-cutting’ in Canadian traditional TV service market reaches new record level in 2016, according to new research

  • But publicly traded TV service providers continue to hold their own against video alternatives

OTTAWA — Canada’s publicly traded television service providers1 as a whole continued to lose a record number of TV subscribers in 2016 but the trends shifted as the cable companies lost considerably fewer subscribers and the IPTV providers saw subscriber growth slow significantly.

New research from Ottawa-based research and consulting firm Boon Dog Professional Services shows the big traditional TV service providers combined lost a record 202,000* TV subscribers in their respective 2016/2017 fiscal years (Nov. 30/Dec. 31, 2015 to Nov. 30/Dec. 31, 2016), up from 160,000 lost in their 2015/2016 fiscal years.

“The subscriber trend story of 2016 is the significant slowdown of IPTV subscriber growth and the improvement in cable TV subscriber losses, which are directly related,” says Boon Dog Partner Mario Mota. “The major IPTV providers added almost two times fewer subscribers in 2016 than they did in 2015 due to limited IPTV footprint expansion and competition from the cable companies. In past years strong IPTV subscriber growth largely offset subscriber declines by the cable and satellite TV companies, but with IPTV slowing considerably in 2016 we saw the overall TV subscriber loss in Canada accelerate to a new record level.”

Mota notes, however, that even with record subscriber losses, Canada’s traditional TV service providers are holding their own against a multitude of choices available to consumers to view video content. “Given that roughly 11.3 million households subscribed to a traditional TV service at the end of 2016, the 202,000 customers lost last year represents only 2% of the total market.”

A full analysis of the latest TV subscriber metrics and forecasts will be published in the next report in Boon Dog’s Canadian Digital TV Market Monitor research series.

1. Rogers, Shaw/Shaw Direct, BCE, Vidéotron, Cogeco, TELUS, and MTS
* Excluding the impact of acquisitions and divestitures; rounded numbers