How media consumption trends coast-to-coast

Atlantic Canadians love their TV, while Torontonians are more into mobile novelties.

Where is a media planner most likely to attract news junkies? Are there certain markets in which TV-heavy advertisers need to rethink their strategy? And where – if anywhere – are wearables a common part of the cultural zeitgeist?

The Media Technology Monitor (MTM) recently dove into a study of Canadians and their media consumption habits coast-to-coast. Studying more than 2,000 Canadians across the country (Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Atlantic Canada, Alberta and Manitoba/Saskatchewan) the research firm identified the biggest outliers and most notable trends, from Vancouver Island to the Maritimes.

What the West does best

Albertans over-index just slightly on traditional TV subscriptions and under-index on what MTM identifies as “TV My Way,” which entails some form of non-traditional TV subscription (OTT or SVOD). Only 6% of Albertans consider themselves “tuned out” of television. Albertans’ affinity for TV plays out in their love of physical devices as well; they’re more likely than the average Anglophone to own a smart TV, internet-connected TV or gaming console and are also more likely to be a “four-screen” household (smartphone, tablet, computer and internet-connected TV).

Over on the West Coast, B.C. residents are more likely than the average Canadian to opt for “TV My Way” (18%, as opposed to 15%) and are considerably less likely than most Canadians to own a gaming console or smart-TV (internet-connected TVs are on par with the national average). British Columbians also slightly over-index on OTT subscriptions overall (63% compared to 61%), specifically on Netflix (59% to 57%) and Amazon (10% versus 8%).

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have similar over-indexing rates for “TV My Way” (18%), but over-index by 8% on gaming console ownership. The region also meets the national average for OTT, online video and online audio consumption.

Central trends

Cable remains slightly more popular in Ontario than in other regions (37% of Ontarians subscribe, compared to 34% of the general population), but because fibre optic remains less popular there (17% versus 23%), Ontarians boast a slightly lower overall rate of traditional TV subscriptions. The province overall seems to be a snapshot of the average Canadian consumer when it comes to smartphones, internet connection and TV technology; Ontario’s main differentiator is its higher-than-average consumption of news (66% of Ontarians regularly watch Canadian specialty news channels on TV, compared to 60% of the country; 72% read online news compared to 70% of the country).

Torontonians, specifically, are more likely to own tablets (60% compared to 58%), use wearable technology (26% compared to 24%), have tried a VR headset (20% compared to 16%) and stream online audio content (75% compared to 70%).

Montreal’s Anglophones are significantly less likely than the average Canadian to opt for ‘TV My Way” (11% compared to 15%), and under-index on all OTT subscriptions besides Crave (10% for Montrealers, 9% for the average Canadian). Montreal Anglophones are, however, heavier users of virtual assistants such as Siri and OK Google (48% versus 43%).

Atlantic advantages

The Atlantic region over-indexes rather dramatically on pay-TV subscriptions, with 81% of the population subscribing to traditional TV (compared to 71% in the whole country). Likewise, the region under-indexes on “TV My Way” (11% against 15%). They’re slightly lower on smartphone penetration (77% versus 81%) and less likely to own a smart TV (40% versus 48%).

Despite the popularity of traditional TV, OTT is popular as well; the region over-indexes on OTT overall (64% versus 61%) as well as on Netflix and Crave subscriptions. Tablets, virtual assistants and VR are all less popular on the East Coast than in the rest of the country, while online video and audio meet the national averages.