Study: Netflix Drives Higher Internet TV Viewing by Canadians

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TORONTO – Blame Netflix Canada.

Canadians are watching more TV programming these days, but increasingly on the Internet, thanks to the U.S. video streaming giant’s local offering.

That finding was revealed by the CRTC, Canada’s TV watchdog, which released its latest communications monitoring report on Tuesday.

The average weekly viewing hours for Canadians in 2011 was 28.5 hours, up from a year-earlier 28 hours, and 26.5 hours in 2008.

But Canadians are also consuming more digital media content, with the average online user viewing 2.8 hours of Internet TV per week in 2011, up from 2.4 hours in 2010, the CRTC reported.

That online video viewing took place mainly on computers, followed by smartphone and tablet viewing and then TV sets attached to the Internet.

And that jump in Internet TV viewing came as the subscriber base for Netflix Canada climbed sharply, from six percent of Canadians in spring 2011 to 10 percent in fall 2011.

The CRTC added that Netflix Canada had its highest market penetration in western Canada, especially Alberta, where it has 15 percent of the provincial population signed up.

That was followed last year by 14 percent of British Columbians as subscribers, and Manitoba/Saskatchewan where 13 percent of locals are Netflix Canada customers.

A lack of French language content has only four percent of Quebeckers signed up to Netflix Canada and nine percent of Ontarians in the country's largest TV market are customers.

“Canadians are enthusiastic consumers of creative content, whether it is offered on television, radio or through digital platforms,” CRTC chair Jean-Pierre Blais said Tuesday.

“The fact that they are spending more time watching or listening to programming is good news for Canadian creators,” he added.

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