Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Canadians Consumed Growing Amount of Media in 2011: CRTC Report

Photo Credit: CNW Group/BELL ALIANT INC.

As citizens of a massive land mass separated by hills, mountains the occasional waterway, Canadians have existed in a society that historically connects us through extraordinary means. From the Canadian Pacific Railway constructed through the late 19th century, the 20th century embraced wide telecommunication and broadcasting networks that integrated a country that could have otherwise been isolated by geographic separation. Combined with Canada's typically trying weather during the winter seasons, the allure of media content has allowed Canadians spanning across age groups to explore and surrender a few hours. According to a recently-published annual report by government-supported regulator CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), 2011 tends to indicate English as well as French speaking Canadians have realized an increased amount of content across radio, television, Internet and mobile platforms. 
While a pop song once popularized the phrase "Video Killed the Radio Star", the "Spirit of Radio" (perhaps not unlike the one Canadian rock band Rush sang about in 1980) remains a part of 21st century life in Canada. In 2011, the CRTC has computed the average Canadian listened to 17.7 hours of radio per week. A slight increase from the previous year, it is possible some listening is incidental in restaurants and stores.

In terms of Canadian viewing habits with television, the appetite remains strong for so-called "Couch Potatoes". In 2011, the average Canadian television viewer watched 28.5 hours of content (up from 28 hours in 2010). Despite the increase access to on-line sources for entertainment and information, improvements to television content delivery such as video-on-demand as well as digital cable has kept the medium popular among media consumers in Canada. While the average subscription cost has increased by $2.13 per month in 2011 compared to the previous year, paid television remains a popular option. With 11.8 million Canadians subscribed to television broadcast services, cable leads over satellite accounting for 70 percent in the category compared to 24 percent. The CRTC also notes a 6 percent present of telephone line-based television content delivery.

A source for decades, radio and television have been sharing an increasing amount of the media landscape with forms of new digital media. Through digital media, consumption along English-language Canada has shown a remarkable raise in 2011 over the previous year. Rating the average Canadian spending 18.2 hours a week engaging in digital media content during 2011, it is almost an increase of a full hour from 2010. Average French language Canadian spent 13.1 hours a week with digital media content.

CNW Group/Bell Canada

When it comes to experiencing the Internet at home, 78 percent of Canadians have a subscription to the vast virtual world that stretch beyond the country's borders. Of those customers of Internet, 54 percent utilize connections that involve a minimum of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps) Internet download speeds. In 2011, the typical Canadian watched 2.8 hours of Internet television content per week according to the annual report from the Canadian telecommunications regulator. The CRTC has also realized that a modest 4 percent of the Canadian public now absorb content exclusively through on-line sources. Music streaming through radio or as downloadable content is also recorded as modest. English-speaking Canadians usage was accounted at 22 percent while 17 percent French-speaking users in the country utilize the Internet for accessing music or other audio programs.

The annual report of 2011 also recognized the smartphone and tablet technology many Canadians have been embracing more each year. Accounting that 38% of Canadians use a smartphone and 10% had a tablet computer at the time of the study, the CRTC identified the smaller devices as possessing a smaller piece of the media puzzle. With only 4 percent of Canadians watched television on tablets and 3 percent watched the similar content on smartphones. With the rapid advance of technology, the data for smartphones and tablets is more than likely set for an increase within annual reports going forward.

Showing that no single platform is ultimately conquering Canada's media spectrum, radio, television and new media should paint a diverse culture for citizens to absorb content. The CRTC annual report for 2011 also makes several mentions of enhanced technologies (LTE and over 5 Mbps Internet) that should insure the sprawling of the landscape could be as ambitious as the far-reaching lands we have built a country.

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