CRTC’s 2007 industry stats: it was a pretty good year

The CRTC' Communications Monitoring Report covers radio, television, telecommunications and new media. Revenue was up, and online, we're loving the UGC. Here's what else got counted...

The CRTC released its inaugural Communications Monitoring Report yesterday. CRTC chairman Konrad von Finckenstein calls it ‘an invaluable reference for anyone interested in this industry.’

In 2007, the communications industry posted revenues of $51.1 billion, an increase of 5.7% over the $48.3 billion reported in 2006. Revenues for the broadcasting industry were up $816.1 million, or 6.7%, and totalled $13.1 billion in 2007.

The report shows that cable companies have emerged as major competitors in the provision of local and cellular telephone and high-speed Internet. Cable companies provided high-speed Internet services to 55% of subscribers.

The report also includes expanded sections covering new media trends and international perspectives. Copies of the report are available here.

Here’s a rundown of what it says:

Broadcasting highlights


  • In 2007, Canadians were able enjoy 1,222 different radio services, including 912 English-language services, 274 French-language services and 36 services in other languages.
  • Canadians listened to an average of 18.3 hours of radio per week, which represented a slight decline from the 18.6 hours in 2006. Private commercial radio stations captured 80.5% of total radio tuning per week; the CBC, 12.4%; and other stations, 7.1%.
  • Revenues for private commercial stations increased by 6.2%, from $1.4 billion in 2006 to $1.5 billion in 2007.
  • In 2007, commercial radio stations paid $23.5 million for the development of Canadian content.
  • Benefits stemming from the transfer of ownership or control totaled $100.8 million in 2007. These funds represent a percentage of the total value of the broadcasting assets involved in transactions, which are then invested in the broadcasting system. The majority of benefits generated in 2007 came from the transactions involving Astral/Standard CTVglobemedia/CHUM.


  • Canadians could choose from 685 television services in 2007, including 456 English-language services, 103 French-language services and 126 services in other languages.
  • In 2007, Canadians watched an average of 26.8 hours of television per week. Canadian television services attracted 98.5% of the French-language viewing audience in Quebec and 74.9% of the viewing audience in the rest of the country.
  • Commercial television revenues increased 4.3%, or $218 million, from $5 billion in 2006 to $5.3 billion in 2007. This was largely due to increased subscriber revenues of $152 million.
  • Revenues for specialty, pay and pay-per-view television and video-on-demand services increased by 9%, rising from $2.5 billion in 2006 to $2.7 billion in 2007.
  • Revenues for private conventional television broadcasters went from $2.1 billion in 2006 to $2.2 billion in 2007, an increase of 1.3%.
  • During this period, revenues for English-language stations grew by 2% to $1.8 billion, while those for French-language stations fell by 2% to $381 million.
  • Private conventional broadcasters spent $616 million on Canadian programming in 2007, which was slightly lower than the $623.7 million spent in 2006. Spending by specialty and pay television services on Canadian programming increased from $888.4 million in 2006 to $917.9 million in 2007.
  • In 2007, benefits stemming from the transfer of ownership and control totalled $291.1 million. These funds represent a percentage of the total value of the broadcasting assets involved in transactions, which are then invested in the broadcasting system. The bulk of the benefits generated in 2007 came from three major transactions involving CTVglobemedia/CHUM, Rogers Media/CHUM’s Citytv stations and CanWest/Alliance Atlantis.

New media:

  • Internet usage continued to increase among Canadians in 2007, with Anglophones spending 13.4 hours online per week and Francophones spending 9.8 hours, up from 11.7 hours and 9.1 hours respectively in 2005.
  • The number of Canadians who have watched a video online has more than doubled over the past three years, with user-generated content being more popular than professionally produced programs.
  • Among the more popular online activities in 2007, 36% of Canadians watched a video, 16% listened to a streaming radio station and 17% downloaded music.
  • The number of Canadians who reported owning an MP3 player increased from 27% in 2006 to 31% in 2007. Furthermore, 11% of Canadians reported downloading and listening to a podcast on either their computer or an MP3 player, an activity that is seen as a complement to conventional broadcasting.
  • Online advertising continued to experience growth, with spending rising from $900 million in 2006 to $1.2 billion in 2007.

Broadcasting distribution

  • In 2007, 7.7 million Canadians subscribed to cable services and 2.6 million Canadians subscribed to direct-to-home satellite distribution and multipoint distribution systems.
  • The number of subscribers to digital services rose from 5.8 million in 2006 to 6.2 million in 2007.
  • Revenues generated from the distribution of programming grew by 8.8% from 2006 to 2007, increasing from $5.8 billion to $6.3 billion. Between 2003 and 2007, revenues have grown at an annual rate of 8%.
  • In 2007, broadcasting distribution companies contributed $296.7 million to Canadian programming and local expression, including community channels. These companies contributed $273.6 million the previous year.

Telecommunications highlights

  • Total revenues for the telecommunications industry increased by 5.3% between 2006 and 2007, climbing from $36 billion to $38 billion.
  • The share of revenues earned by the competitors of established companies increased by 14.6%, from $13.7 billion in 2006 to $15.7 billion in 2007. Competitors accounted for 41% of total revenues.
  • Capital expenditures went from $6.9 billion in 2006 to $8.2 billion in 2007, an increase of 18.7%. Among other projects, these funds were invested in enhancements to wireless networks, the expansion of wireless capacity and coverage to additional urban centres and various rural locations, Digital Subscriber Line services, and Internet Protocol Television services.
  • The wireless market was the largest sector of the telecommunications industry with revenues of $14.4 billion, an increase of 14.4% from $12.6 billion in 2006. Overall, wireless revenues accounted for 38% of all telecommunications revenues and grew at an annual rate of 16.2% between 2003 and 2007.
  • There were 20.3 million wireless subscribers in 2007, an increase of 8.2% over the previous year.
  • In the residential market, there were 12.9 million local and access lines. Cable companies held a 17.9% share of these lines, or 2.3 million lines, compared with a 12.3% share, or 1.6 million lines, in 2006. They also increased their share of revenues in this market segment from 8.4% to 13.6%.
  • Across the country, broadband is available to 93% of households using land-line facilities. Satellite facilities can extend this reach, which is only limited by capacity constraints, to nearly all Canadian households. Virtually all Canadian households in urban centres can access broadband services, compared with 81% in rural areas.
  • Canadians continued to adopt newer technologies such as broadband access to the Internet. In 2007, the number of residential subscribers to high-speed Internet services increased by 12% to 8.4 million.
  • Prices for telecommunications services in Canada are in line with those in other countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Australia), with favourable land-line rates for consumers across all usage levels, and rates for high-speed Internet service falling at the median point.
  • Canada had the highest proportion of households subscribing to broadband connections among all of the G7 countries. Broadband to the home in Europe is primarily supplied over fixed telephone lines, whereas in Canada consumers have more choice as broadband delivery is widely available over telephone lines and cable.