TV still tops with Canadian consumers, survey finds

The latest installment of the TV Trends and Quality Survey also indicates that there is a growing reluctance to pay more for television. Public broadcaster CBC comes out on top among individual channels, ranked as the best news and most trusted news source.

While Canadians remain generally satisfied with TV, they are increasingly unwilling to pay more for it according to the latest TV Trends and Quality Survey from Ottawa-based Canadian Media Research Inc.

Only 11% of those surveyed strongly agreed with the statement that they would be willing to pay $5 per month more for better quality TV. The study’s findings are particularly pertinent, given that Canada’s conventional broadcasters have been aggressively pursuing a fee for carriage that would see cable and satellite companies pay for the right to distribute their signal. The cable and satellite companies have repeatedly said that consumers would have to absorb the cost of any additional fee.

While more than 66% of Canadians said they are satisfied with TV – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2002 – and only 2.7% indicated that they are ‘very dissatisfied’ (up from 1.8% last year), a growing number of Canadians already do not feel they’re getting good value for their money. Only 5.7% of respondents strongly agreed with the statement ‘TV is generally good value for the money it costs,’ down from 8.1% last year, and considerably lower than the 11.8% who strongly agreed with the statement in 2003. While 47.6% of respondents agreed with the statement, it marks the third straight year of decline in that OK-with-the-current-cable bills camp.

‘I think the rising cost of TV, which includes not only subscription fees but also the cost of HD sets, PVRs and other new video technology, is pushing against the consumer’s general satisfaction with television,’ CMRI president Barry Kiefl told MiC in an email interview. ‘While people maintain their very high levels of satisfaction with TV, consumers are starting to show signs that they are not willing to pay much more for further improvements.’

The study, based a sample of 1,542 anglophone and francophone Canadians aged 18 and over in October and November, found that the average Canadian now has access to 173 channels on their main TV set (which is eight years old) and 114 channels on their secondary set. Canadians spend an average of 18.8 hours per week watching TV, compared with 12.7 hours listening to the radio and 10.9 hours using the internet.

The CMRI study also tracked consumer attitudes towards individual channels. Among its findings: CBC Television is the leading source for news, with 28.1% of respondents saying it offers the best national news, followed by CTV with 19% and Global Television at 13.8%. The public broadcaster is also the most trusted news source at 24.5% (up from 22.4% in the 2008 survey), followed by CTV at 21.8%.