THUNDER BAY – As you watch Youtube, and other video online, gather your news and information online, and engage on Social Media, you are part of a growing group of Canadians who are making Canada a world leader in the use of the Internet.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) released Navigating Convergence II: Charting Canadian Communications Change and Regulatory Implications, a compilation of independent research and views obtained from CRTC stakeholders, including consumers, public-interest advocates and members of the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. The first edition of the report was published in February 2010.
The report states, “According to Comscore, Canadians spend more time online than people in any other nation. Canadians spend on average 43.5 hours per month online, nearly twice the worldwide average of 23.1 hours. Since 2009, the percentage of Canadians aged 55 years and older that use the Internet has increased by 12 percent making it the fastest growing demographic”.
As well the numbers of people who are watching online video is increasing. “All age groups are consuming video online, and 53 percent of Internet video viewers are over the age of 35. According to Comscore, Canada is the global leader in terms of Internet video viewing by its citizens. Comscore indicated that while minutes spent online rose by 10 percent between August 2008 and August 2009, the total minutes spent streaming video each month increased by 156 percent. More recent figures show that the number of minutes streaming video continues to grow faster than minutes online, with a year over year growth of 16 percent versus the 5 percent year over year growth in minutes online.
According to the report, the development and adoption of new devices, products and services is accelerating in Canada. Canadians are rapidly embracing the global digital environment and making their choices and voices known. The evolving environment is also creating opportunities for the communications industry to provide services and content in new and innovative ways.
In 2010, 24% of anglophones and 20% of francophones watched some of their television programming online, including newscasts, sports clips and shows, which were offered by Canadian and foreign services.
This trend is expected to continue as these services give consumers the flexibility to catch up on the television shows they have missed, at a time and on the device that is most convenient. As consumers access more online content and services, traffic over Canadian Internet networks is projected to quadruple from 2009 to 2014.
Canadians are also increasingly adopting mobile devices, which can connect to the Internet and deliver content, information and social media services. Between 2010 and 2014, the number of wireless subscribers is expected to rise from 25.8 million to nearly 30 million, with half of them owning a smartphone. At the same time, mobile Internet subscriptions in Canada are predicted to increase significantly from 5.5 million in 2011 to 14 million in 2015.
The report also notes that consolidation has increased in the communications industry. Despite this trend, the introduction of new services, such as those that deliver television programming online or through phone lines (known as Internet Protocol television), and the emergence of new service providers in the wireless market create competitive options for consumers.