Infrastructure impacts how Indigenous people in the north use media

MTM oversampled a group that is usually overlooked by many other surveys of media and technology habits.

Despite Indigenous peoples’ importance in the Canadian mosaic, not much is known about how they use media technology, due to the fact that surveys weighted for population often overlook them or don’t provide a representative sample.

Media Technology Monitor has made its first attempt to address this, adding an oversample among Indigenous communities across Canada and in the North.

The report found that Indigenous Peoples are a younger population on the whole, with a median age of 29, and are 35.5% more likely to have someone aged 19 or under in the home, compared to 22.1% of the general

Indigenous peoples tend to own similar devices to non-Indigenous people, and are as likely to have a smartphone, tablet or smart speaker as other Canadians, but are less likely to own a computer or laptop.

When looking at internet, Indigenous peoples in the north are less likely to have a home connection (86%) than the average Canadian (93%), although Indigenous peoples living in the rest of Canada (91%) are almost as likely as the general population. That points to ongoing infrastructure and supply chain issues that often disproportionately impact Northern communities, with MTM further referencing the possibility of the quality of internet service being a factor, due to the lack of availability of high-speed and fibre optic services.

That leads to Indigenous peoples living in the north spending roughly two hours fewer online than Indigenous peoples living elsewhere in Canada, on average. They also listen to less AM/FM radio in a typical week, likely due to both online access and radio signals being less accessible in the North.

TV and internet service penetration is high overall among Indigenous Peoples, but that can vary depending on where they live, namely between remote or more urban settings, because of access to services. Satellite TV
penetration is much higher among Indigenous households for this reason.

Indigenous peoples show a lot of interest in getting content digitally and are slightly more likely to watch content on SVODs or on YouTube than the average Canadian, which may in part be due to a greater prevalence of Indigenous-made content on digital platforms than traditional ones. Music on YouTube is also more prevalent with this group.

More than three-quarters of Indigenous peoples (77%) engage in social networking, slightly higher than the 74% of the general population who do the same. Mirroring trends in the rest of the province, Franco Indigenous peoples are less interested in social networking. Facebook usage is nearly universal among Indigenous Peoples at 92% (vs 87% of the general population). As a population that skews younger, they are also very drawn to SnapChat and TikTok (32% and 35%, respectively, compared to 22% and 18% of the general population).

Overall, Indigenous survey respondents are slightly less likely to watch Canadian TV news channels; however, when they do, they are more likely to watch the CTV News Channel. Franco-Indigenous Peoples are more likely to watch TVA Nouvelles than other Francophones.