U.S. Network TV Still King in Canada, but Netflix Popularity Growing

Orange is the New Black Netflix - H 2013

Orange is the New Black Netflix - H 2013

The CRTC reports Canadians are still big small-screen viewers, but increasing device ownership is playing into the hands of Netflix Canada and other digital players.

TORONTO -- The good news for domestic broadcasters is that Canadians continue to watch the bulk of their series programming on their TV sets, and most of that is U.S. network fare in primetime.

But the bad news -- as revealed by the latest video consumption data from the CRTC, the country's TV watchdog -- is that Canadians are increasingly turning to their computers, smartphones and tablets, and especially Netflix Canada and other new digital players, for content.

The CRTC report indicated Canadians viewed an average of 28.2 hours of TV each week in 2012, just off the 28.5 hours watched in 2011.

At the same time, increasing device ownership has played to the advantage of Netflix Canada, whose streaming video service has grown strongly here.

Around 17 percent of Canadians subscribed to Netflix Canada in the fall of 2012, according to CRTC data, or around 2.5 million households.

That Canadian subscriber base, while not broken out by U.S.-based Netflix, is higher now after the U.S. video streaming giant rolled out marquee dramas including House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black to draw more customers.

Back on their TV sets, Canadians watched 931.3 million hours of programming per week, according to the CRTC.

Most of those TV shows were American, especially in primetime, as the regulator said 48.9 percent of the content represented Canadian programs, most of which is pushed to the shoulders of primetime schedules.