Online-only TV viewership on the rise: study

But it might not be as prevalent as you think: Just 11% of Canadians live without a conventional cable subscription or an antenna, according to a new report from MTM.

The proportion of TV-watching Canadians that live without a conventional TV subscription or a digital antenna might be less than you think. Just 11% of Canadians have neither, according to a new report from MTM.

This group however, dubbed by MTM as “TV My Way Canadians,” has doubled in size since 2003 and consume all of their TV content online via free services like YouTube and paid ones like Netflix. Unsurprisingly, this is more common in younger demographics, with 25% of 18-to-34 year olds falling into this bracket, as well as 28% of students.

And the reason this number isn’t higher? Sports, said the report, which represents a major content genre that stops people from withdrawing altogether from paid TV.

The “TV My Way” segment has grown from 7% in 2014 and three out of eight do not own a traditional TV screen, instead choosing to consume content on mobile devices or laptops.

In 2016, 6% of Canadians used a digital antenna to pick up signals off-air, said the report, and 5% were tuned out completely, not subscribing, watching online or using an antenna.

Due to the larger amount of English-language TV content available outside of the conventional television model, this “TV My Way” group is twice as prevalent in Anglophone markets as it is in Francophone ones. Just 5% of Francophone Canadians live without a conventional cable subscription or a digital antenna.

The rise of “TV My Way” Canadians is being driven first and foremost by Netflix, with the group being more than twice as likely to watch content on Netflix than the average Canadian. As well, “TV My Way” Canadians are twice as likely to watch online on their smartphone than the average Canadian.

However, this group watches significantly less content overall per week. According to the report, the average Canadian watches 16 hours of television per week (both on linear and online), while “TV My Way” Canadians consume 8.2 hours of TV weekly.

The results of the survey were based on the responses of 8,167 Canadians, of which 2,976 completed a follow-up online questionnaire. The phone portion of the survey was conducted between October and December 2016. MTM is a product of CBC/Radio-Canada Research and Analysis.