New TVB Research Study Confirms Commercial Television is the Dominant Video-Viewing Medium in Canada

— May 29, 2014

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TORONTO (MAY 29, 2014) – The Television Bureau of Canada (TVB) released today a comprehensive new research study confirming commercial television as the overwhelming source of video-viewing in Canada. The New TV Landscape:  Understanding Broadcast Television within the New Media Landscape in Canada study conducted by Ipsos Reid MediaCT indicates that 83% of the time spent watching video was spent watching commercial television.

“Clearly, we’re seeing a disconnect between the amount of “buzz” about the new world of watching video and the degree of impact various video options are actually having on Canadian viewing habits,” said Theresa Treutler, President & CEO, TVB.  “This new research provides self-reported insight into the actual video viewing behaviour of Canadians, indicating that compelling Commercial Television content is the driving force behind time spent.”

Share of Time Spent Watching Video

  The study shows that 8 in 10 online Canadians (Adults 18+) who viewed video yesterday spent 4 hours watching video, representing 27% of their day. Of this 4 hours spent watching video, 3 hours and 18 minutes or 83% of this time was spent watching Commercial Television.  The average Canadian spent 12 minutes (5%) watching Non-Commercial TV (Netflix, Online Store, Premium TV Network Online) and 30 minutes (12%) watching Grey Zone (Disc, YouTube, Social Network, Peer to Peer).

TVB engaged Ipsos Reid MediaCT to answer the following question:  In this new world of watching video and the media options available – how are Canadian viewing habits changing? The company then conducted a three-phase study (behavioural, attitudinal, ethnographic) utilizing its iSay online panel with a robust sample of greater than 2,500 respondents. 

Among the findings:

Share of Time spent with Media

Among online Canadian Adults 18+, 7 Hours per day were spent with media.

47% (4 hours) of that media time was spent watching video, 20% Browsing, 12% Listening, 9% Reading, 6% (25 minutes) Social Networking, 6% Gaming.

“Watching video is fundamental from a media perspective – it represents half the time Canadians spent with media in an average day,” said Treutler. “But it is also fundamental to Canadians’ lives.  It appears intrinsic to who we are as a society today.  Attitudinal measures indicate watching video fulfills a number of needs:  68% say it’s a source of entertainment; 54% say it’s a routine activity/part of our day; 43% indicate it’s something they talk about with friends and family - a form of   social currency.”

Share of Time Spent Watching by Device

As Canadians move from one-screen access to multi-screen access, the study asked whether Canadians are watching on multiple screens on a daily basis.

The New TV Landscape indicates 80% of viewing hours were consumed on a TV, 15% on a Desktop or Laptop.  Surprisingly, only 2% occurred on a SmartPhone, 2% on a Tablet, and 1% on an MP3 Player. 

“In a saturated media landscape, where consumers have the choice of a wide variety of screens, TV remains the screen of choice,” said Treutler.

Millennials Viewing: Misunderstood

Unexpectedly, Millennials (Adults 18-34 – represented by a subsample of at least 700 respondents in research) are not that different from all Adults in the hierarchy of video consumption – Commercial TV dominates their lives by a substantial margin.  For Millenials, 63% of video watching time was spent with Commercial Television, 12% Non-Commercial TV (Netflix, Online Store, Premium TV Network online) and 25% Grey Zone (Disc, YouTube, Social Network, Peer to Peer).

“In terms of Attitudes, on many measures, Millennials value Commercial TV to a higher degree than all Adults,” said Treutler. According to the study, 70% love watching TV shows; 65% miss their shows when the season ends; 64% say watching Commercial TV is part of their daily routine; 64% want to see the latest episodes as soon as they air; 63% can’t wait to watch their TV shows.

  • In fact, Attitudinal indices for Millennials versus Adults 18+ indicate television is a much more social activity: talk about with friends and family (Index = 114); spend time with friends & family (Index = 111); way to connect with friends & family (Index = 132).
  • 83% of Millennials have a TV in the home.  Of those with a TV, 85% have a Flat Panel and 72% have HD (consistent with Adults 18+, with 86% having a Flat Panel TV and 75% with HD).
  • As we would expect, Millenials are more tech savvy and are much more likely to have their TV connected to the internet at 73% (versus Adults 18+ at 52%). 
  • While Adults 18+ spent 7 hours with media, Millennials spent 6 hours.  72% of Millennials watched video “yesterday”, averaging 3 hours of viewing (Adults 18+ averaging 4 hours).
  • 39% of Millennial media time was spent watching video (Adults 18+ at 47%).  Browsing occupied 25% of media time, Listening 12%, Social Networking 8%, Gaming 8%, Reading 7%.
  • 69% of total watching of video is on a TV set; only 8% viewing occurs on a mobile device.

To view a topline of The New TV Landscape presentation, visit

About the Television Bureau of Canada (TVB): 
The Television Bureau of Canada is an industry association for commercial television broadcasters in Canada.  TVB is a spokesperson for its members on television and advertising issues affecting the broad membership.  TVB provides leading edge research and information about television advertising.           

On behalf of the media industry as whole, TVB aggregates revenue data for all media, including television, internet, radio, newspapers, magazines and out-of-home.  This co-operative media revenue compilation is considered industry currency and is utilized by organizations such as the Conference Board of Canada, Canadian Marketing Association and others.

For more information, please contact:
Sylvia Augaitis
Senior Communications Officer
Television Bureau of Canada (TVB)
416.413.3885 |  416.526.0750  |

160 Bloor Street East, Suite 1005, Toronto, Ontario M4W 1B9
Telephone 416-923-8813 | Fax 416-413-3879