Canuck regulator offers snapshot of industry

Revenues are up, but auds for homegrown drama are small

MONTREAL — Revenues for terrestrial commercial TV stations and pay TV/pay-per-view/specialty channels in Canada both increased by 10% this year to C$2.1 billion ($1.7 billion) and $1.5 billion respectively, according to a snapshot of the local TV industry released by the broadcast regulator.

Revenues for cable operators increased 7.7% to $3.4 billion, while revenue for satellite increased 27.2% to $977,040, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, reported on Dec. 14.

According to Nielsen Media Research data, dramas and comedies are the most popular TV shows, garnering 44% of average English-language weekly viewing hours and 43% of the average weekly viewing hours for those watching in French.

However, auds for homegrown drama continue to be small. Just 14% watch local English-language drama while 32% watch local French-language drama. Canadians watch an average of 26.1 hours of TV a week.

Canada’s actors union ACTRA said the study underlines the fact that broadcasters are not supporting local drama.

“Canadian drama still lags far behind because private broadcasters don’t give Canadians an opportunity to see their own programming,” says Stephen Waddell, ACTRA’s national executive director.

Cable accounted for 76% of all basic service subscriptions with satellite picking up the rest. There are 6.9 million cable subs, down 2% on last year. Satellite subs increased 9.8% to 2.2 million.

In June, 4.3 million cable and satellite subs had digital, up 19% from a year earlier.

Total revenues from the broadcast distribution business — including from cable and satellite — was $4.4 billion. Contributions from broadcast distribution companies to the Canadian Television Fund increased to $105 million this year.

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