Canada’s TV industry plays a key role in entertaining and informing Canadians. Although the TV industry has gone through many changes in recent years as a large proportion of TV audiences access TV on-demand through streaming services, it is still a key tool for advertisers and a significant employer. It also makes an important contribution to the country’s economy. 

In this article, you will find television industry statistics ranging from the industry’s revenues to hours Canadians spend watching TV and employment figures. We have also included statistics on how Canadians view TV in comparison to other media.

Television Industry and Audience Statistics for Canadians

  • Broadcasting revenues grew by 1.2% in a year between 2021 and 2022.
  • BDU subscriptions fell by 5.7% and DMBU subscriptions increased by 9.9% in a year.
  • The average Canadian aged 18 or over spends over 20 hours watching TV each week.
  • TV reaches over 90% of Canadians each week.
  • Over half of Canadians trust the editorial content on Canadian TV.
  • Over ⅖ of Canadians trust TV advertising.
  • Almost a quarter of TV viewing time is spent watching streamed content.
  • 75% of Canadians say their TV subscription includes channels they never watch.
  • The Canadian TV industry employs over 13,000 people.

Definitions

There are some key abbreviations used in the television industry. While not all of the below abbreviations are used in this article, they are useful to know for anyone wanting to learn more about the topic.

  • AVOD – advertising video-on-demand refers to internet-based services, such as YouTube, where content can be watched for free but includes adverts
  • BDU – broadcasting distribution undertakings, including conventional TV, discretionary TV, and on-demand services
  • DMBU – digital media broadcasting undertakings
  • IPTV – internet protocol television, e.g. Telus Optik TV and Bell Fibe, does not include services such as Crave or Netflix
  • PPV – pay-per-view
  • VOD – video-on-demand
  • SVOD – subscription video-on-demand services, e.g. Amazon Prime Video and Netflix
  • TVOD – transactional video-on-demand, differs from SVOD as users pay for specific content rather than the service itself

Broadcasting Revenues Increased in 2022

Compared to 2021, overall broadcasting revenues were up by 1.2% in 2022. Both discretionary TV and DMBU sectors reported increased revenues by 3.4% and 11.1%, respectively. The 2022 revenue for discretionary TV was $4.09 billion and for DMBU it was $5.46 billion. BDU saw revenues decrease by 5.3% from $7.84 billion to $7.42 billion.

The revenue statistics show that the use of DMBU services is increasing in Canada. In 2022, 19% of Anglophones and 14% of Francophones said they were likely to only watch TV online.

BDU Subscription Fell Nearly 3% in a Year

As more viewers are switching to online and on-demand content, the number of BDU subscribers in Canada was down 2.9% in 2022 compared to 2021. This decrease is in line with the historical trend for BDU subscriptions, with the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the sector being -2.6%.

In contrast, DMBU service revenues have had a CAGR of 19.5% since 2018. The audiovisual DMBU sector had services revenues of $4.188 billion in 2022, up from $3.728 in 2021 and from $2.676 billion in 2018.

Canadians Are Spending Less on BDU and More on DMBU Subscriptions

Data published by the Government of Canada shows that Canadians are spending less on BDU subscriptions and more on DMBU subscriptions. The monthly spending on BDU services has fallen from $36.91 to $33.42 between 2020 and 2022. During the same time, spending on DMBU services increased from $23.15 to $27.64 per month.

The CAGR for BDU subscription services is 3.9% since 2018. Compared to 2021, the subscription spending on BDU services fell by 5.7%. In contrast, DMBU service subscriptions have increased 9.9% in a year and the CAGR since 2018 is 14.1%. Despite the changes, Canadians still spend around 21% more on BDU services compared to DMBU services.

Overall, spending on TV subscription services is increasing in Canada. The total monthly spending has increased from $55.43 in 2018 to $61.06 in 2022. However, this figure includes subscriptions to audio subscription services in addition to audiovisual services.

Canadians Spend Over 20 Hours Per Week Watching TV

Canadians spend a lot of time watching TV with the average Canadian aged 18 or over spending 20.6 hours watching TV each week. Despite the growth of on-demand streaming services, most of the viewing hours, 17.7 hours in total, are still spent watching live TV.

Watching TV is a far more frequent activity than watching content on other media. For example, Canadians only spend 5 hours per week watching content on YouTube and 1.3 hours on Facebook. Instagram and TikTok get half an hour per week of Canadians’ viewing time.

Older Canadians More Likely to Watch TV

While Canadians of all ages watch TV, older Canadians watch considerably more TV than other age groups. According to ThinkTV, Canadians aged 55 years or over, spent on average 37.2 hours per week watching TV. This is over twenty hours more than the average weekly hours among Canadians aged 25-54 or 18-24. The average weekly hours among 25-54-year-olds is 16.6 hours and among 18-24-year-olds the average is 14.6%. Kids are more likely than teenagers to watch TV with 14.2 and 12.7 average weekly hours, respectively.

TV reaches 91.6% of the over-55 population in Canada each day. The weekly reach among this age group is 97.3%. The average weekly reach among all Canadians aged 18 and over is 92.1% and the daily reach is 78.9%.

Canadian Women Are More Likely Than Men to Watch Recorded Programmes

There are some differences in the viewing preferences between Canadian men and women. 37% of women prefer to watch recorded content compared to 28% of men. Only 17% of women prefer live TV compared to 34% of men. This means that female audiences are more likely to skip advertising than men.

Women and Younger Canadians More Likely to Stream TV Content

Canadians spent around 23% of their viewing time on streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+, and CraveTV. Women are more likely than men to watch streamed content than men at 28% compared to 17%.

However, the main difference in who watches streamed content is generational. Canadians aged between 18 and 34 spend the largest proportion of their viewing time on streaming services at 35%, while those aged between 35 and 55 spend 24% of their viewing time streaming TV content. Among Canadians aged 55 and over, the proportion is just 11%.

Over 40% of Canadians Watch Canadian Networks Every Day

43% of Canadians who subscribe to cable TV watch domestic networks every day. This is a much higher viewership than for news channels or US networks, which are watched by 36% and 25% of subscribers, respectively. Approximately 24% watch sports channels every day. Lifestyle channels are watched by 15%, speciality channels by 13%, and movies by 10% of subscribers.

Canadians Viewers Are Becoming Less Satisfied with DBU Services

Canadians are becoming increasingly unhappy with the programmes they get from their subscription services. 59% of Canadians are disappointed with the programming they get and 75% think they pay too much each month. In addition, 83% say there are many channels included in their subscription package that they never watch.

Drama Is the Most Popular Genre in Canada

In 2022, the most popular genre in Canada was drama with 33.2%. It was followed by comedy with 15.6% and reality with 13.2%. Sports programming was the least popular genre with only a 1.1% share of the audience.

Top TV Series in Canada

In 2022, the most popular series in Canada was Stranger Things, shown on Netflix. It was followed by Saturday Night Live on NBC and Game of Thrones on HBO. The children’s programme, Spongebob Squarepants was the fourth most popular, showing on Nickelodeon.

TV Is the Second Most Trusted Media in Canada

Canadians are more likely to trust content on more “traditional” media than on, for example, social media. The most-trusted media is the newspapers with 54% of Canadians saying they trust editorial content in newspapers. TV is the second most trusted with 53% of Canadians trusting editorial content on TV. Radio was close third with 51% and magazines fourth with a considerably lower trust score of 34%.

When Canadians access editorial content on, for example, their phones and laptops, TV websites are trusted by 44% of Canadians. Newspaper websites are seen as the most trustworthy with a trust score of 52%. Radio websites are third with 42%. Social media sites are trusted the least with only 21% of Canadians trusting what they see on social media.

TV Advertising Is Considered Trustworthy by Over 40% of Canadians

While many advertisers are spending increasing amounts on advertising, for example, on social media sites or YouTube, they should not discount the power of TV advertising. According to survey results on how Canadians feel about advertising, TV adverts were trusted by 43% of Canadians. Only newspaper advertising was seen as more trustworthy at 47%. Radio advertising is the third most trusted with 40%.

Advertising on TV websites was also considered reasonably trustworthy with a 37% trust score. It tied with advertising on radio websites and was once again beaten by newspapers, with adverts on newspaper websites trusted by 43% of Canadians. Only 31% of Canadians trust advertising on search engines and even fewer, only 22% trust advertising on social media.

Working in the Canadian Television Industry

According to Statista, the Canadian television industry employed, on average, 13,276 people per week in 2022. This was more than in 2021 and 2020, when the average weekly employee figures were 13,146 and 13, 246, respectively. However, these employee numbers are considerably lower than ten years ago. For example, in 2013, the industry employed 19,767 people per week on average, and in 2012, the average was 19,907, the highest number since 2010.

There are a range of jobs available within the television industry, which include technicians, set designers, make-up artists, wardrobe experts, production coordinators, post-production experts, and location managers. The average salary for a full-time position is $77,094. However, for starting positions within the industry, the salary will be significantly lower.

Conclusion

Watching TV is a popular free time activity in Canada with Canadians watching over 20 hours of TV per week. However, viewing hours vary between generations as do the ways Canadians access TV programmes.

In recent years, streaming has increased in popularity and fewer people are now watching live TV broadcasts. TV programmes and therefore TV advertising still have the potential to reach large audiences and TV is one of the most trusted media in Canada. This is a noteworthy fact for any marketers in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

On average, Canadians watch approximately 20 hours of TV per week. However, the hours spent watching TV vary between different age groups, with older Canadians more likely to spend longer watching TV. Older Canadians are also more likely to watch linear TV, while younger Canadians are more likely to stream TV content.

Yes, Canadians still watch traditional TV but they are also increasingly accessing TV by other means. Older Canadians are more likely to watch traditional TV, while younger Canadians stream more.

TV still reaches over 90% of Canadians every week, so advertising on TV can still be worth the money. However, this also depends on the target audience. For example, younger people are less likely to see advertising on linear TV and more likely to see it on, for example, YouTube so advertisers need to consider the viewing habits of their target audience carefully.

Your earnings depend on your role and experience, but the average yearly salary is approximately $77,000. However, anyone wishing to enter the TV industry needs to be aware that starting salaries are often very low.

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