Live TV and Streaming Services See Jump Among Canadians

Almost three-in-four Canadian TV watchers (73%) have “binge watched” a show or series over the past year.

Vancouver, BC [March 12, 2021] – The proportion of Canadians who watch television recorded on a digital device has dropped significantly in the past year, while more time is being spent enjoying live content or streaming shows, a new Research Co. poll has found.

The online survey of a representative national sample asked Canadians to describe how they watch television.

More than a third of the time is spent by Canadians watching live television on a TV set (35%), up 10 points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in January 2020.

Streaming on an online site—such as Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Disney+ or CraveTV—to a television, computer, tablet or mobile phone is second on the list of entertainment sources with 29%, followed by watching television on a TV set via a digital recording device (13%, -19), streaming online from another type of site (9%, +3), watching content downloaded from the Internet (7%, -1) and streaming on a TV network website (6%, =).

“Canadians aged 35-to-54 appear to have struck a balance between live television (34%) and streaming services (30%),” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Canadians aged 18-to-34 gravitate towards streaming (44%) while those aged 55 and over devote most of their television time to watching broadcasts as they happen (54%).”

In a typical week, Canadians who watch TV spend 19 hours and 35 minutes enjoying content in all possible formats (over-the-air and cable television, as well as streaming on the Internet and mobile devices).

Across the country, Canadians aged 55 and over spend the most time watching television (25 hours and 56 minutes each week), followed by those aged 35-to-54 (18 hours and 20 minutes) and those aged 18-to-34 (13 hours and 8 minutes).

Residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Alberta spend more than 20 hours a week watching television, while the proportion is lower in all other regions of Canada.

Just under one-in-five Canadian television watchers (18%) say they paid to watch a new motion picture that was not shown in movie theaters because of the COVID-19 pandemic—a proportion that rises to 26% among those aged 18-to-34.

Two-in-five Canadian TV watchers (40%) observed a presidential of vice-presidential debate in the United States last year, and a slightly higher proportion (42%) watched the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden in January, including 57% of those aged 55 and over.

Almost three-in-four Canadian TV watchers (73%) admit to “binge watching”, or watching two or more episodes of a specific series in the same sitting.

Results are based on an online study conducted from March 4 to March 6, 2021, among 910 adults in Canada who watch television at home. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.3 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

Photo Credit: KoolShooters