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Television in Canada - statistics & facts

From its beginning in the 1940s until today, the history of the Canadian television industry is tied to that of the United States. In fact, the influence of Canada’s southern neighbor started before the establishment of the first local television station, when many Canadians living close to the U.S. border were accessing American television content from cities such as Cleveland, Seattle, or Detroit. The first Canadian television stations were not launched until 1952, under the banner of the government-created CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). At that time, owning a TV set was still considered somewhat of a luxury. Some 70 years later, the number of pay TV households in Canada and overall TV consumption are on a downward path as new broadcast innovations and streaming services capture the attention of a growing audience.

Canada’s TV market at a glance

For a few years after its launch, the CBC was the only broadcaster in the country, with each private television being required by law to affiliate with it. However, by 1960, increased pressure to diversify television programs led to a more open market and the rollout of the country’s first private broadcaster, CTV. Looking at today’s multifaceted TV landscape, telecommunications company Bell Canada (BCE), which acquired CTV in the early 2000s, stands out as the top TV broadcaster in Canada, generating nearly 30 percent of commercial TV revenues. However, reports also show that TV advertising revenue in Canada has declined for several years. Television remains an attractive advertising medium, but as audiences seek more flexible video entertainment options, marketers are slowly shifting investments towards non-linear streaming alternatives.

Canadians are cutting the cord

The recent influx of video-on-demand (VOD) services to the Canadian media landscape has altered consumer behavior and viewing preferences. Considering that these services allow viewers to access TV programs and movies around the clock instead of binding them to fixed broadcasting schedules, it is no surprise that thousands of Canadians are cutting the cord and saying goodbye to their traditional pay TV bundles. Other benefits that audiences have come to value are the ever-expanding content catalogs of SVOD platforms like Netflix and the ability to watch this content on many different (portable) devices. By 2021, subscription services had just become as popular as live television broadcasts, and that same year, Canada ranked among the countries with the highest SVOD penetration rates worldwide. As this trend toward non-linear content did not go unnoticed by Canadian broadcasters, many started offering their programs on-demand for viewers to catch up on whenever and wherever they want.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 35 most important statistics relating to "Television in Canada".

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