Audio, smart speakers and OTT all on the rise: report

Music and video streaming are the standard for more than two-thirds of the country, according to the latest MTM Sneak Peek Report.

When it comes to digital literacy, Canadians are at the top of their game, according to Media Technology Monitor’s latest study, the Sneak Peek Report.

Published twice a year, the report takes a look at technology ownership and usage based on a survey of 4,000 people. Through data, MTM determined the top five media activities and technologies Canadians are adopting.

The report found that Canadians are predominantly watching video on a computer screen (66%) or a smartphone (64%); as a result they are likely to be owners of the latest models as some 80% of people reported having a phone one year old or newer.

As more offerings become available in the Canadian market, growth among OTT subscribers has risen five percentage points since last year, largely with smaller brands like Crave and Amazon Prime Video. Since last spring, Crave has nearly doubled in penetration, reaching 13% of households surveyed (up from 7%). Amazon has had a similar trajectory, now at 19% (up from 10%). New this survey is YouTube Premium, which sits at 4%.

Online audio is also gaining in popularity; in five years the number of people streaming across a variety of platforms and devices jumped by nine percentage points, with 72% of users now regularly streaming audio. Breaking that number down looking at how the average person commutes, the study found those using public transit spend more time listening to online audio, at roughly 13 hours per week. Vehicle commuters reported listening 8.6 hours per week and those who don’t commute at all, typically listened to only 6.6 hours per week.

Popularity with smart speaker ownership has played a significant role, as penetration has doubled in the year since the technology was introduced. In the spring of 2018, 8% of Canadians reported owning one. By the spring of 2019, that number was 19%. Google remains the top brand, while streaming music remains the favoured activity for 77% of smart speaker owners. By comparison, 57% reported using theirs to gauge the weather and 43% said it was to use the search function.

With so much information readily available via so many devices and technologies, roughly one in seven Canadians still said they felt “poorly informed” when it comes to current events. Only one-third consider themselves “well-informed.” It was Millennials who reported themselves the least informed, and those with household incomes of less than $35,000.