Number of Canadians with cable TV continues to decline as Netflix continues rise

In this undated file photo provided by NetFlix Inc., a representation of the Netflix one-click remote is shown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/NetFlix Inc

One in four anglophone Canadians have cut the cord or are so-called “cord nevers” and don’t pay for a traditional TV service, while just over half are Netflix users, according to a report by the Media Technology Monitor.

Based on telephone surveys with 4,156 Canadians conducted by Forum Research Inc., between Sept. 27, 2017 and Dec. 8, 2017, 73 per cent said they had a TV subscription, which was down from the 78 per cent who said the same in 2016.

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“We’ve seen a steady decrease in paid TV subscriptions,” says Jenny Meadows, head of client services for MTM. “That’s changing the (media) environment we live in.”

The report also focuses on a category of digitally savvy users dubbed TV My Way viewers – representing 14 per cent of the Canadians polled – who now watch all their TV and film content through the internet (an additional seven per cent of the respondents watch streaming content along with TV via over-the-air signals, while six per cent said they essentially watch no TV at all).

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TV My Way viewers tended to be younger, most commonly in the 18 to 34 age group, and were more likely to be social media users, listen to music and podcasts online, and use their mobile devices to stream video.

They were also far more likely to have a Netflix subscription, with nearly eight in 10 saying they used the streaming service versus 54 per cent of all the survey respondents.

“It is by far the most popular service over time and it continues to grow,” says Meadows of Netflix’s foothold in Canada.

But Netflix subscriber growth in Canada is now at the stage where it’s slowing, adds Andrea Sharkey, senior manager of market insights for MTM.

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“I think part of that is at some point all the people who want to have Netflix will have subscribed, so growth will continue to slow,” Sharkey says. “But certainly it’s still the most important (streaming service).”

In fact, the report suggested there was little appetite for consumers to subscribe to Netflix’s competitors.

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Only eight per cent of those polled said they were users of CraveTV and six per cent said they had Amazon Prime Video. Of the Amazon Prime Video users, many had a login but said they didn’t really use it.

“Only about half of those watched it in a typical month,” Sharkey says. “A lot of the people who have a subscription to the Prime Video service only have it because it’s bundled with their online shopping.”

Of the poll respondents who did have a subscription to at least one streaming service, only 16 per cent said they were likely or somewhat likely to sign up for another in the year ahead.

“Typically most people only have one and when they do have multiples they’re stacking it with Netflix,” says Sharkey.

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“They were first to market, they do what they do very well.”

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MTM says the survey results are considered accurate within 1.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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