Report: Netflix Canada Has Local Carriers Losing the Cord-Cutting War

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Two successive quarters of combined subscriber losses by domestic cable and satellite TV carriers point to Canadians increasingly going online for video content.

TORONTO – Canadians have caught up with the U.S. market as local subscriber TV trends point to first-time cord-cutting.

A research report from consulting firm Boon Dog Professional Services reveals digital insurgents like Netflix Canada and iTunes have produced two successive quarters of combined subscriber losses by domestic cable and satellite TV carriers.

The loss is estimated at 5,394 TV subscribers in the first quarter of 2013, which followed an estimated 8,175 customers lost in the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the report.

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That’s only a sliver of the domestic TV market pie, which includes 11.8 million households.

But the findings are evidence that, despite stepped-up efforts by cable and satellite TV operators to retain customers in the face of U.S. and other foreign digital competition, the increasing proliferation of online video has begun to have an effect.

“While the recent decline in subscribers in Canada is small relative to the size of the total TV market, we now have two consecutive quarters of data for the Canadian market that confirms that cord-cutting is a reality here too,” Mario Mota, Boon Dog partner and main author of the Canadian Digital TV Market Monitor research series, said in a statement.

To fend off the digital competition, Canadian carriers and broadcasters are rolling out more VOD and TV Anywhere services, with Bell Media the latest to do so this week.

Bell Media, which is owned by phone giant BCE, is offering live and on-demand video content as part of a Bravo GO service to IPTV, cable and satellite providers.

Bell Media is also looking to acquire, pending regulatory approval, Astral Media, which runs The Movie Network pay TV channel in eastern Canada and has had to gird for battle with digital competition to retain subscribers.