Digital TV

The number of Canadian households subscribing to digital TV (digital cable, satellite TV and IPTV) has risen to over 10 million.

A report from the Ottawa-based Boon Dog Professional Services states that by the end of 2011, over 10 million household in Canada had digital TV subscriptions.

This is rise of over 10 per cent, or 890,000, is up on 2010’s growth rate of 850,000.

“Our research shows that 85% of Canadian TV subscription households had a digital service as opposed to analog service at the end of 2011, up from 79% a year earlier,” says Mario Mota, Boon Dog Co-founder and Partner. “The percentage of TV subscription households receiving traditional analog cable reached an all-time low of 15%, as many cable companies push to migrate their remaining analog customers to their digital offerings.”


Television ownership in the US has dropped for the first time in 20 years.

Research conducted by Nielsen has found that 96.7 per cent of American homes now own TVs, down from 98.9 per cent previously.

Nielsen attributes the decline to two reasons: increasing poverty in the US and the advancement in technology.

Many low-income households now can’t afford to own TV sets due to the added expense of digital antennas and young people are now growing up with laptops which give them access to a wide range of television shows and movies via the internet.

The second reason is prompting Nielsen to think about redefining the “television household” to include those who access content via the internet.

“We’ve been having conversations with clients,” said Pat McDonough, the senior vice president for insights and analysis at Nielsen. “That would be a big change for this industry, and we’d be doing it in consultation with clients if we do it.”

Nielsen says the decline also mirrors the trend in 1992 where TV ownership declined due to a prolonged recession. However, it was reversed in the mid-90s during the economic upswing.

While it is still believed that American households hold the TV at the centre of their media life, they are finding ways to live without it.


The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has issued an order for a nationwide ad campaign about the transition to digital television.

The CRTC has ordered broadcasters to air public service announcements to allow viewers to prepare for the switchover from analog to digital TV.

This follows calls from consumer groups that Canadians are unprepared for the change and that a national campaign is needed to help educate those who don’t know what they need to do.

It is estimated that 900,000 Canadian households are relying on analog antennas to receive TV signals. They will need to buy a set-top box to receive the new digital signals.

A further 44,000 households live in areas that don’t receive digital signals and will need to buy a satellite dish.

Broadcasters such as CTV, CBC and Global have been informed they must screen at least six 30-second ads about the switchover every day, according to the CRTC.