In this digital age, how Canadians consume media has changed, and streaming services are at the forefront of this shift. All the on-demand programming means that Canadians are increasingly free to choose what they want to watch and when and where they want to watch it.

In this article, you will find key statistics on how Canadians use streaming services, including the most popular streaming services, audience demographics, and why some Canadians are cancelling their streaming subscriptions among other interesting statistics.

Streaming Services Usage Statistics for Canadians

  • Canadians spend, on average, ten hours per week streaming content.
  • Netflix is the most popular paid streaming service and YouTube is the most popular free streaming service.
  • Approximately 90% of adult Canadians stream content.
  • Canadians aged 25 to 34 are the most likely age group to pay for streaming services.
  • Over 50% of Canadians said they accessed more streaming content during the pandemic.
  • Unique visits to Amazon Prime Video grew by nearly 180% in a year.
  • Comedy is the most popular genre when streaming videos.
  • Almost a third of Canadians have cancelled a streaming service subscription to save money.
  • Cost (53%) and lack of content (47%) are the main reasons for cancelling subscriptions to streaming services.
  • YouTube is the most popular service for streaming music followed by Spotify.

Streaming in Canada

Streaming includes a range of activities from streaming videos on social media, to streaming live TV and gaming. Canadian adults spend around ten hours a week on average streaming content on any device. Younger adults, aged between 18 and 24, spend slightly more time than the average using streaming services, approximately eleven hours per week.

Streaming videos on social media is the most popular streaming activity in Canada, followed by watching news. The third popular activity is watching movies and TV programmes.

Most Popular Streaming Services in Canada

Streaming content can be divided into two categories: SVOD and AVOD. SVOD refers to subscription-based video on demand where consumers pay for the content. AVOD refers to advertising-supported video on demand. These services, such as YouTube or Tubi, are free to watch but include advertising.

Netflix is the most popular SVOD service in Canada, with 76% of Canadians aged 18 and over having a subscription to the service. Prime Video is next with 54% and Disney is third with 29%. These are followed by Crave, AppleTV+, and YouTube Premium with 22%, 13%, and 6%, respectively.

YouTube is the most popular AVOD service. 34% of Canadians stream content on YouTube. It is followed by ubi with 20% and CTV with 15%. Gem and Global complete the top five of AVOD services with 13% each.

User Demographics

Streaming content has been increasing rapidly in Canada. In 2016, 54% of Canadians over 18 years of age used streaming services. By 2020, the proportion had reached 80%. Since then, the proportion has kept growing, and as of May 2023, around 90% of Canadians use streaming services. Younger Canadians have been faster to use streaming services as 92% of the 18-34-year-old population access at least one streaming service (paid or free).

While the Canadian population has slightly more women than men (51% and 49%, respectively), the streaming population is evenly split between men and women. 52% of Canadians with streaming services are in full-time employment and 55% are married or in a relationship.

Canadians over 65 years of age are the most likely to use no streaming services with 31% of the age group not streaming any content. The proportion of people who do not use streaming services is the lowest among younger Canadians. Among the 35-44-year-olds, 8% are not using streaming services and among the 18-34-year-olds the proportion is 9%.

25-34-Year-Olds Are the Most Likely to Pay for Video Streaming Services

According to Statista, Canadians aged between 25 and 34 are the most likely to have a subscription to a video streaming service. 31.4% of people in this age group pay for at least one SVOD service. The next most likely group, at 25% is the 35-44-year-olds, while, at 11.1% the least likely group is the 55-64-year-olds (over 65s were not included in this data). 35-44-year-olds are the most likely to have four or more subscriptions at 22% followed by 45-54-year-olds with 21%.

Why Have Streaming Services Become So Popular?

There are many reasons why streaming content has increased in popularity. One of the main reasons is the number of ads at 47%. With paid services there are no ads and even with free services there are generally fewer ads compared to linear TV. Other reasons included that it is easier to fit into their schedule and to catch up on programmes at 46%, followed by the wide choice of videos, movies, and shows at 44%.

While Canadians often stream content through a connected TV, the fact that content can be accessed on any device is also important at 43%. The ease of watching several episodes back-to-back was an important factor for 36% and 33% mentioned cost compared to cable.

Majority of Canadians Have Access to at Least One SVOD Service

A vast majority of Canadians, 90%, have access to SVOD services. 65% have access to more than one streaming service subscription and 40% have access to three or more subscriptions. However, often the service is shared by several members of the same household, so the number of people who access streaming services is far higher than the actual number of subscriptions.

Pandemic Led to a Rapid Rise in Streaming Service Usage

While streaming on-demand content had been increasing steadily in Canada before the pandemic, when Canadians were forced to stay at home, they turned to streaming services in bigger numbers. 54% of Canadians aged over 18 years said they were accessing more streamed content during the pandemic. The largest increase was among the 25-34-year-olds, where 60% said they were streaming more content. The smallest change, at 49%, was among the 35-54-year-olds.

Visits to Amazon Prime Video Grew Almost 180% in a Year

Between 2019 and 2020, Amazon Prime Video benefited the most from the increased demand for streaming services. In a year, unique visits to the service’s home page grew by 179%. It was followed by fuboTV, a sports-focused service with 91%, and CuriosityStream, which focuses on documentaries with 86%.

Other services also saw more unique visits, including Netflix, Acorn TV, and Shudder at 49%, 41%, and 38%, respectively. Only one streaming service, Crave, saw the number of unique visits to their home page go down by 53%.

Most Streamed Video Content is Watched on Connected TV

While on-demand content can be accessed on any device, Canadians are most likely to access it using a connected TV. 57% of Canadians who stream content say their preferred device for watching content is connected TV. 42% preferred to watch content on their desktop or laptop and 40% on a connected TV device. 29% said their preferred device was their smartphone and 22% would access content primarily on their tablet.

Most Popular Genres on Streaming Services

The most popular genre on streaming services (across SVOD and AVOD services) is comedy. 64% of Canadians say they watch comedy programming on streaming services. It is followed by crime/suspense drama at 53% and action at 52%. Documentaries are a close fourth with 51%. Sci-fi programming is watched by 39% of people who stream on-demand content, completing the top five genres.

More Canadians Are Cancelling SVOD Services

With the rising cost of living, more Canadians are tightening their budgets and one of the easy ways to reduce their outgoings is by cancelling streaming service subscriptions. According to a survey by Angus Reid, around a third (32%) of Canadians had cancelled at least one of their SVOD services in the six months before the survey. 8% had cancelled more than one service.

However, the majority of Canadians are keeping their SVOD services. Across all age groups, 55% of Canadians are not considering cancelling any of the streaming services they subscribe to. The most likely people (36%) to cancel at least one subscription are Canadians earning less than $25,000. The least likely income group to cancel is Canadians earning between $25,000 and $49,000 per year with only 27% cancelling any SVOD services.

However, most Canadians would cut back elsewhere before cancelling their subscriptions. 49% of Canadians would save on food by choosing cheaper groceries, getting fewer deliveries, and eating out less. 45% would reduce their spending by going out less, including movies, theatre, and sports events, and 42% would buy fewer clothes, shoes, and accessories.

Main Reasons for Cancelling SVOD Service

The main reason for cancelling SVOD services is the cost. This was cited as the main reason by 53% of subscribers. Another 47% said they had cancelled an SVOD service because of the lack of content. Other reasons given for cancelling include not actually using the service at 39%, not finding anything to watch at 24%, and the service removing programmes from their catalogue at 15%.

On the other hand, when Canadians are choosing an SVOD service, key criteria include the quality of the programmes available and being able to watch their favourite programmes. Both reasons were cited by 97% of Canadians who use SVOD services as key factors. In addition, 95% of people said having a wide catalogue of programmes to choose from was an important factor when picking an SVOD service.

Streaming Services Canadians Would Most/Least Likely to Cancel

There are clear favourites that Canadians would be less likely to cancel if they had to reduce their spending on SVOD services. 54% of people who have Netflix would not cancel the services, 50% would keep their Amazon Prime Video subscription, and 41% their Disney+ service, even if the costs were to rise. Services Canadians would be most likely to cancel are SiriusXM, live-stream gaming, such as Mixer or Twitch, and Crave.

Almost 20 Million Canadians Watch Programmes on Netflix

According to data from Statista, approximately 19 million Canadians were accessing content on Netflix in 2022. Again, we need to remember that the service is often shared by members of the same household, so this does not reflect the actual number of subscriptions. Statista predicts that by 2025, 19.9 million Canadians will be watching content on Netflix.

One of the main reasons for the service’s popularity is its streaming library. There are just under 5,500 titles available on-demand on Netflix’s Canadian library. Around 4,000 of the titles are movies and the rest are TV shows. This makes it one of the most extensive libraries with only Japan and the United States having more content available in their Netflix catalogues.

Streaming Music

The use of subscription music streaming services has more than doubled in Canada between 2019 and 2022. In 2019, only around 10% of Canadians paid for music streaming services. In 2022, 22% of Canadians subscribed to a music streaming service. During the same time, streaming free music also increased in popularity from 27% to 36%. With 31%, YouTube is the most popular service for streaming music and Spotify is second with 26%.

Conclusion

Streaming content has become increasingly popular in Canada and approximately 90% of the population now access some streaming content on their devices. Despite Netflix losing viewers in recent years, it is still the most popular paid video streaming service in Canada, while YouTube is the most popular free service for both videos and music.

The pandemic led to increased consumption of streamed content with over 50% of Canadians saying they streamed more. However, many Canadians have cancelled or are considering cancelling SVOD services to save money among rising living costs. Despite this, streaming content is here to stay since Canadians appreciate the convenience and the range of material available to them instantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Approximately 90% of Canadians stream some content, whether paid or free, on any device.

For content that can be watched for free, YouTube is the most popular video streaming service in Canada. For paid content it is Netflix.

According to Statista, around 19 million people watched Netflix in 2022. However, this is not the same as the number of subscriptions as often members of the same household use the same subscription.

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