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Canadians Are Cord-Cutting Faster than Americans

Even Canadian Netflix is better than cable.
April 8, 2016, 5:06pm
Image: Flickr/Mr Seb

Canada might have a notorious inferiority complex when it comes to the US, but if there's one area where we'll always beat our Southern neighbours, it's hating telecom companies. Besides hockey, it's our national sport.

Maybe that's why Canadians are getting rid of their cable subscriptions and switching over to online streaming at a faster rate than Americans, according to a new report by the Convergence Consulting Group.

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2015 saw 190,000 Canadians cutting the cord, according to the report, an 80 percent increase from 2014. By the end of last year, the report estimates that roughly 22 percent of Canadian households, more than 3 million, didn't have a cable subscription. A 2015 report pegged that number in the US at 17 percent.

That works out to Canada losing about 1.5 percent of its cable subscriber base in one single year, compared to 1 percent in the US.

"Clearly Canadians are choosing broadband connections over TV"

"While Canadians spend less on average than Americans on TV, Canadians do spend more on average on broadband," Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence, wrote me in an email. "There are more Canadian broadband subscribers than Canadian TV subscribers and Canadian broadband subscribers continue to grow while TV declines."

"Clearly Canadians are choosing broadband connections over TV."

Convergence predicts a slight increase in the number of Canadians getting rid of their cable in 2016—191,000 people in all—which might be a little surprising given that Netflix recently began cracking down on Canadians using VPN services to access US content, leaving us hosers to languish in a land of B-movies and Netflix originals.

Eiley said that the study did not track piracy rates, but he did note that Canada has far fewer legal streaming alternatives than the US. Globally, legal streaming services like Netflix have recently been taking up more bandwidth compared to torrenting, and piracy rates in Canada plummeted last year thanks to aggressive copyright notice letters sent to infringers.

Still, never underestimate Canadians' distaste for our oligarchical media landscape.