More Canadians streaming television shows via Netflix

More and more Canadians are tuning into online movie streaming websites such as Netflix, but it has not impacted traditional television viewing as feared, according to a report published Thursday.

The percentage of Canadians that subscribed to Netflix grew from 10 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2012, while the number of Canadian basic television subscribers increased by one percent to 12 million, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)’s annual report.

Canada’s population is 35 million.

“More Canadians than ever are watching and listening to content on their computers, smartphones and tablets, yet the vast majority of programming is still accessed through traditional television and radio services,” CRTC Chairman Jean-Pierre Blais said in a statement.

The amount of time spent watching television was down only slightly from 2011, averaging 28.2 hours per week, according to the report.

Collectively, Canadians watched 931.3 million hours of television per week, nearly half of which were Canadian programs.

Meanwhile 33 percent of Canadians also or instead watched Internet television, typically about three hours per week, up slightly from the previous year.

Over the coming months, the CRTC will hold public consultations that could lead to an overall in the way Canadians watch television and the prices they pay for cable or satellite television services, with new regulations to follow.

No changes are expected that would impact online movie and television streaming services, after the CRTC twice rejected calls requiring Netflix to buy a broadcasting license, which helps fund Canadian productions.

In an interview with CBC Radio last week Blais commented that broadcasting is changing and will never be the same.

He noted that almost every Canadian household once had a television set in their living room, but now the trend is moving fast toward on-demand video content that is available on various devices, including tablets.

Other facts from the CRTC annual report:

– more than two out of four Canadians owned a smartphone and more than one out of four owned a tablet in 2012;

– Canadian families spent an average of Can$185 each month on communications services;

– Canadians downloaded an average of 28.4 gigabytes (GB) and uploaded 5.4 GB per month; and,

– there were 27.9 million Canadian wireless subscribers versus 11.9 million traditional telephones at home.

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