Cord-Cutting in Canada Increases for TV Subscribers

While it was certainly another big year for wireless and Internet business in Canada, cord-cutters are slowly denting broadcasters’ profits. While it isn’t a large number in the scheme of things, cord-cutting continues to chip away at the traditional television sector, a trend that industry watchers expect will continue on into this year.

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According to a new report from the Financial Post, Canada’s top five communications providers are BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. These five giants gained around 626,000 wireless subscribers and 212,000 Internet subscribers in the first three quarters of 2016, according to current financial data.

However, over the same time period these five companies, which control approximately 82 per cent of the broadcasting and telecommunications market share in Canada as of 2015, lost 157,000 television subscribers, while landline subscriptions fell by more than 471,000.

Industry analysts expect the final TV cord cutting tally to rise to between 150,000 and 200,000 subscribers by the end of 2016. This number is compared to an overall loss of approximately 173,000 TV subscribers in 2015. The same analysts expect the numbers to rise in 2017.

These trends came as younger Canadians are watching less television by traditional means, such as cable or satellite. Traditional TV viewing among 12- to 17-year-olds fell by 5.5 percent in 2015, while 18- to 34-year-olds watched 4.4 percent less TV than in the previous year.

Anyone else out there cutting their cable cords or plan to in 2017?

World-traveling, tech-savvy, music-producing writer obsessed with all things Apple, video games, and the finer things in life, e.g. mezcal and tacos. When I'm not writing I'm exploring new places, eating new foods, and generally trying to be a decent human.

  • Ironically I subscribed to cable television last year for the first time in years. It was part of a sign-up deal and cost marginally more than the internet by itself, so I was planning to cancel after the trial period, but I ended up discovering the Turner Classic Movies channel and realized that I finally had access to dozens of classic movies I’d been wanting to see for years but found difficult to track down for rental or streaming. Now I think I may stay subscribed for a while, primarily for that one channel.

  • Gordon Leung

    Coming from an asian family, cord cutting is fine if you can stream what you need (CTV, ABC, Sportsnet, TSN, Netflix etc) but it’s tough in a family where your parents still need those specialty asian channels like Fairchild that isn’t available on a streaming platform

  • This is true. My grandma and at my parent’s place they still like Fairchild. Hence, cable bills.

  • I have a PVR contract that ends on April 13th. I’ll be calling Cogeco the next day to cancel TV. Internet is fine, but $70 for TV that I am watching less as time goes by? I’ll pocket that instead, thanks very much!

  • Geoffrey Spencer

    Cut my TV and landline this year. Mostly happy. Have OTA, Netflix, CraveTV and now Amazon. Also have Sportsnet. Bell too stupid or too greedy not to have standalone pricing for TSN.

  • sickukes

    Try out Kodi. You can get everything on Netlix and much more for free.

  • NOHoldsBar

    Partly true. If you want local tv and news you won’t get that with streaming. At best you can get partial news when steaming. I sometimes tune in to global bc news when abroad and I only get a partial newscast.

    The trend is these stations want to authenticate you by your TV provider like Shaw or Delta Cable. There are some hacked android boxes available at night markets with questionable reliability and support that when demonstrated allow this capability but I haven’t been able to find a way to do so myself.

    If you want local programming and still cut the chord, you must reside on an area where your TV can pick up hd over the air channels. This means you need to be on higher ground and not in a condo as the TV waves are often rendered impo tent because of concrete in the way.

  • Riley Freeman

    only reason i dont cut the cord is because of basketball and football. The day there is a better option out there, bell will no longer get my tv money

  • Gyarados

    The only reason why I keep the cord is hockey/Canucks.

  • MleB1

    Of course, cord cutting (and still being able to watch video online) is contingent on inexpensive, fast internet and high/no caps – and we continue to enjoy some of the priciest internet in the western world; while its no coincidence that for a majority of us, the company that runs the landline TV line also runs our internet. Offering substandard, expensive, low-capped internet keeps consumers on cable.

  • Brenda

    TCM is great. Criterion has a streaming service in the US that would be a nice complement to TCM. And EuroTV carries some interesting show. As a movie buff, I’m really disappointed with the Canadian Amazon Prime video offerings as many of the classics available in the US are not available in Canada sans VPN.

  • Alan Cheung

    If it’s for the TVB dramas and TV shows, you can get the TVB Anywhere box for $150 which also include 15 months of service and after that it’s $120 a year. http://www.tvbanywhere.com

  • James O

    Look in Roku, Slingtv will take care of the sport show.