TV Cable Cord-Cutters Growing Faster Than Expected
By Christina Pellegrini for The Financial Post
More Canadians ditched their TV subscriptions in 2014 than ever before, according to a new report.
There were 95,000 fewer television subscribers in 2014, a stark 12-month decrease in the number of people in Canada who paid to watch TV the old-fashioned way – versus the 13,000 net dip in 2013. The losses are anticipated to widen to 97,000 in 2015, the comprehensive report published Monday by the Convergence Consulting Group states.
“We weren’t projecting that we would see such a big decline this year. It caught us a bit off guard,” said Brahm Eiley, a principle at the Toronto-based firm who authored the report. “We’ve seen more people in the last few years either decide to get rid of television or people deciding to never get television at all.”
From 2007 to 2011, cable subscriptions grew annually by an average 220,000. The industry could count on new households to purchase TV subscriptions in past years, says Eiley, but it’s not the priority it once was.
He attributes the net decline seen in 2014 to a combination of the so-called “cord-cutting and cord-nevers.”
Given these new usage patterns, revenue from residential broadband services in Canada unsurprisingly grew to $6.2 billion, up 8 per cent, as the Internet reached an estimated additional 408,000 homes in 2014.
Despite all the rage of Netflix and the like, people who do not have a TV subscription with a cable, satellite or telecommunications company account for just one-fifth – 21.6 per cent, or 3.09 million homes – of all Canadian households. While this figure has risen since 2012 and is expected to jump to 3.3 million homes in 2015, much of the population still watches the game or their favourite show on a TV screen.
“The vast majority of households still have a linear TV subscription,” Eiley added. “We can either talk about the dog’s body or its tail. That 21.6 per cent is still the tail. It’s growing, and it’s growing faster than it’s ever grown before, but the majority are still TV subscribers.”