Canadian TV Cord-Cutting Accelerates, Says Analyst

The pace of cable cancellations is quickening as Canadians flock to Netflix and the country announces the introduction of pick-and-pay channel pricing by 2016.

The pace of Canadians canceling their cable and satellite TV subscriptions and defecting to Netflix quickened in 2014.

A new analyst report on Wednesday revealed domestic TV providers last year lost a record 65,000 TV subscribers, as indicated in their fiscal 2014 financial results, against a few hundred lost during the 2013 fiscal year. The Boon Dog Professional Services research also found publicly traded TV service providers lost a combined 21,380 TV subscribers in their 2014 fiscal fourth quarters, almost double the 11,323 lost in the same period of 2013.

Accelerated cord-cutting facing local cable and satellite TV providers follows Canada last week ordering pick-and-pay cable channel pricing by 2016, in part to discourage traditional TV viewers from ditching their subscriptions. Cord-cutters and -shavers here are opting for Netflix Canada, Apple TV and other new digital options.

The 65,000 TV subscribers lost in 2014 represents only 1 percent of a Canadian TV market that measures around 11.7 million households. Still, Boon Dog partner Mario Mota noted Internet-based TV subscriber growth has slowed for major players, including phone giant Telus Corp., quickening the pace of overall TV subscriber losses.

"Another firm trend is that satellite TV is now in significant decline in Canada," Mota said. To help discourage current Canadian TV trends, the CRTC, the country's TV regulator, last week ordered domestic carriers to allow consumers to pick and pay for the Canadian and American TV channels they want by December 2016 after they purchase a new skinny basic cable package.

That will mean the eventual end of Canadians being compelled to take pricey subscription packages of TV channels they don't want or view.

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