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Online TV growing, but Canadians set in their ways

Study shows just 6% of anglophones watch TV exclusively online

While watching TV via the internet is becoming increasingly commonplace, it is not about to replace conventional watching any time soon according to new research from Media Technology Monitor (MTM).

According to MTM’s latest Media Technology Adoption – Spring 2014 report, which tracks the adoption of new technologies among Anglophone Canadians, only 6% of English-speaking Canadians 18+ say they watch TV exclusively online, a marginal increase from 5% in 2013.

However, the incidence of watching TV shows and clips online grew 18% in the past year, with 45% of Anglophones saying they have watched online TV content in the past month.

At the same time, consumption is moving from snack-sized content to entire episodes, with three-quarters of people who watched online in the past month saying they watched an entire program.

Despite considerable buzz about the concept of “social TV,” the report said it is not yet an industry phenomenon, with only 10% of Anglophones 18+ indicating that they comment on a TV program via social network when the show is airing.

The report found that those who do comment are twice as likely to use Facebook than Twitter to interact, which it attributes to the fact that far more Anglophones are on the former.

The study also found that about one in eight Anglophones has “tuned out” TV, choosing to live without a regular TV set. While some respondents indicated they do not own a working TV set, others said they do have a TV set but use it solely to watch DVDs or TV online.

Nearly one third (29%) of Anglophone Canadians own a smart TV, although only 55% say they have connected it to the internet. Only 36% of those people use the TV’s built-in connectivity, with others connecting via a device such as Apple TV or a game console. “This would indicate that smart TV ownership is driven more by the availability of the device rather than a desire to use the features,” the report concluded.

Viewing habits also reflect growing smartphone adoption among Anglophone Canadians, with 13% saying they watch TV on their device, up from 9% one year ago, while 14% of Anglophones – roughly 31% of all tablet owners – say they watch TV on a tablet.

An estimated 32% of Anglophones now subscribe to Netflix, and the service is expected to grow as it continues to expand its library while simultaneously creating original content like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. While the company recently announced a price increase for new subscribers, the report said the price point is still low enough that it won’t inhibit continued growth.

The report also said that streaming radio has found its audience, with just over a fifth (21%) of Anglophones saying they listening to streaming radio in the past month – a figure that has remained consistent since 2009.

At the same time, nearly a quarter (23%) of Anglophones say they stream audio on cellphones, nearly double the amount (12%) from two years ago. Smartphones allow for easier access to online music sources on the go, said the report.

The finding are based on telephone interviews with 2,002 Anglophone Canadians from all regions except the Territories, conducted by Forum Research between March 18 and April 19. The results are accurate within plus or minus 2.2% 19 times out of 20.

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