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Seniors watch twice as much television as young people do, CRTC numbers show

Canadians are watching less TV and radio but consuming more media than ever before, new numbers from the CRTC show.

According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Canadians are listening to an average of 16.2 hours of radio per week, a number which is down almost two per cent from 2014’s level.

And for younger Canadians, radio is an even weaker draw. The average Canadian aged between 12 and 24 years old listened to half as much this year, about 8.2 hours per week.

Television numbers paint a similar picture. Canadians of all ages watched an average of 27.2 hours of TV via cable, over the air, satellite or on the internet. “This represents a minor decrease of 0.7 per cent from 2014,” the CRTC said.

But Canadians aged 65 and up watched an average of 42 hours per week. That’s more than twice as much as the 19 hours per week that Canadians aged between 12 to 34 watched.

But just because they’re spending less time in front of the idiot box, it doesn’t mean younger Canadians are getting less screen time. More than half of Canadians, 55 per cent, currently stream music videos on YouTube. 

And one in five listen to music on online streaming services, an increase of 2 per cent over 2014’s level.

“This year’s report clearly shows that viewing and listening habits are continuing to shift,” CRTC chair Jean Pierre Blais said. “Younger Canadians are the ones who consume the least amount of audio-visual content using traditional ways [and] online platforms are increasingly attractive and accessible to Canadians.”

That shifting landscape has been bad news for the bottom line of broadcasters of late, as the CRTC’s numbers show that broadcast revenues decreased last year:

  • On the radio side, broadcasters took in 1.2 per cent less money, at $1.9 billion
  • On the TV side, revenues were down 3.4 per cent to $7.1 billion
  • And television service providers saw their revenues stabilize at $8.9 billion

All in all, cable, IPTV and satellite TV services had 11.2 million subscribers in 2015, a 1.4 decrease from 2014’s level. Within that, cable is still the most common of TV services, with 60 per cent of customers. But that ratio is shrinking: in 2011, it was 69 per cent.