Analysis of CRTC Choicebook: Public

Let’s Talk TV: Choicebook, research conducted by Hill+Knowlton Strategies

1 May 2014

Methodology

A total of 6727 people started the Choicebook and answered at least one of the first two substantive policy questions. Questions were not mandatory, so not everyone completed the whole Choicebook. A total of 6068 answered the last question.

The data presented here are unweighted and reflect the character of those who chose to go through the Choicebook process and make their views known to the CRTC.

Participants do not resemble the population and the tendency for certain types of people to provide feedback through the Choicebook process is reflected in the results. Notably, 70% of all participants are male. Participants are also somewhat younger and with higher levels of income.

In this report, we have highlighted demographic differences that are statistically and substantively significantly different to show where groups of Canadians hold views that are different from other Canadians.

Executive Summary

Cable Services and Requirements

  • Two thirds (65%) of participants would prefer a basic cable service that is the lowest price possible.
  • Participants are divided about whether local news is important but there is a major generational gap at work such that those over 40 value local news and those under do not.
  • Pick and play (51%) is favoured over pick a pack (36%) and large pre-assembled packages (6%).
  • A viewer pay model (64%) is preferred when it comes to sports programming.
  • About two in three participants want more direct access to American (65%) and International (67%) channels. About half of those who want more direct access would be willing to pay and would still want more access even if it meant less Canadian programming.
  • Signal substitution (54%) is favoured as a way to protect programming rights over paying extra for U.S. stations.

Online Services

  • When considering online services like Netflix, the majority of participants sided with John (67%) whose position is that online services should not be required.
  • Those who felt like Jenny that online services get a free ride are mostly (86%) willing to pay $0.50 per month for more Canadian content.
  • A small majority (59%) of participants do not think that online services should be required to have closed captioning and programming standards.
  • Just 29% would be in favour of paying $5 per month so that they could stream television and not have the data count against their cap.

Participant Profile

Profile:

Participants in the public process are not reflective of the population in Canada. In particular, 70% of participants were male.

Other features of the participants include:

  • A younger group, though not under 25. For example, 27% are older than 55 years of age compared with 35% in Statistics Canada projections.
  • A wealthier group. More than one in three claim to have household income above $100,000.
  • 16% were not born in Canada.
  • 70% first learned English and 23% French leaving 7% who learned some other language first.
  • 47% of the participants are from Ontario, with 22% from Quebec.
(%) Sex
Male Female
Sex 70% 30%
(%) Age
Under 25 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 plus
Age 7% 25% 22% 19% 16% 11%
(%) Household Income
Less than 20,000 20,000 to 39,999 40,000 to 69,999 70,000 to 99,999 100,000 to 119,999 120,000 or more
Household Income 7% 12% 24% 21% 13% 23%
(%) Provinces
Ont. Que. B.C. Alta. Man. N.S. N.B. Sask. N.L. N.W.T. P.E.I. Y.T. Nvt.
Provinces 47% 22% 14% 8% 3% 2% 2% 2% 1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.1% 0%
(%) Misc.
Children 11 years or younger Were you born outside of Canada?
Misc. 20% 16%
(%) If born outside of Canada, how long in Canada?
Up to 5 years 5 to 10 years 11 to 20 years More than 20 years
If born outside of Canada, how long in Canada? 4% 8% 15% 73%
(%) First Language Learned
English French Other
First Language Learned 70% 23% 7%
(%) Language Spoken
Speaks English Speaks French
Language Spoken 78% 27%
(%) Primarily Watches TV in
English French Aboriginal Other
Primarily Watches TV in 83% 16% 0% 1%

Substantive Content

Basic Subscription Services

Q. Whose views do you agree with and why?

  • Doreen, Jeannine and Sierra - because having the basic service includes a small number of channels that provide service to under-served and under-represented audiences is a good way to make sure the television system provides something for every Canadian.
  • Phan - because the basic service should be just that: basic. It should be available at the lowest possible price point so people on lower and fixed incomes can afford it.
(%) Whose views do you agree with and why?
Doreen, Jeannine and Sierra Phan
Whose views do you agree with and why? 35% 65%

Two thirds of participants chose the Phan option.

  • Men (who represent a large portion of the public) are much more likely to choose Phan (70% versus 53%).
  • People who watch TV primarily in French are much less likely to choose Phan (50%).
  • Quebec residents are less likely (56%) and Albertans the most likely (76%) to choose Phan.
  • Older participants are slightly less likely to choose Phan (60% of 65+ versus 70% of those 18 to 34).

Local News

Q. Right now, the CRTC requires that local television stations provide local news coverage. Some say this may be a requirement whose time has come and passed. Who do you agree with more?

Andrew and Mary: Both work regular work weeks with some overtime and travel. After dinner, they will often tune into the local newscast on television. Both enjoy the overview of the day's events that the local newscast offers, as well as the occasional features on local arts and culture scenes, sports and weather reports. This is a part of Andrew and Mary's routine - for them it is the best way to get a perspective on the day's events.

Matthew: In addition to a full course load, Matthew also works part time as a waiter. But unlike his parents, Matthew is more interested in global news and information. He is always on the go and finds that he can get more personalized, in-depth and up-to-date news and content on his smartphone, rather than on television. He doesn't understand why his parents, who are online frequently, wouldn't want to do the same.

  • Andrew and Mary: Enjoy local newscast, it is part of their routine
  • Matthew: Student who works part-time and is interested in global news and information which he gets personalized, in-depth and up-to- date on his smartphone.
(%) Who do you agree with more?
Andrew and Mary Matthew
Who do you agree with more? 51% 49%

Public participants are almost equally divided when it comes to the importance of local news.

  • Women (61%) take Andrew and Mary’s position more than men (47%).
  • Older participants are much more likely to choose Andrew and Mary (next slide), reflecting a major generational divide.
  • Recent immigrants (less than 10 years) are more likely to choose Matthew (33%).
  • French TV viewers are much more likely to choose Andrew and Mary (71%).

Local News by Age

Q. Right now, the CRTC requires that local television stations provide local news coverage. Some say this may be a requirement whose time has come and passed. Who do you agree with more?

Andrew and Mary: Both work regular work weeks with some overtime and travel. After dinner, they will often tune into the local newscast on television. Both enjoy the overview of the day's events that the local newscast offers, as well as the occasional features on local arts and culture scenes, sports and weather reports. This is a part of Andrew and Mary's routine - for them it is the best way to get a perspective on the day's events.

Matthew: In addition to a full course load, Matthew also works part time as a waiter. But unlike his parents, Matthew is more interested in global news and information. He is always on the go and finds that he can get more personalized, in-depth and up-to-date news and content on his smartphone, rather than on television. He doesn't understand why his parents, who are online frequently, wouldn't want to do the same.

(%) Who do you agree with more?
18 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 plus
Andrew and Mary: Enjoy local newscast, it is part of their routine - for them it is the best way to get a perspective on the day's events. 35% 37% 43% 59% 68% 72%
Matthew: Student who works part-time and is interested in global news and information which he gets personalized, in-depth and up-to- date on his smartphone. 65% 63% 57% 41% 32% 28%

Pick and Pay Options

Q. Considering their situations and perspectives, and your own television habits, which one of these three options would you choose and why?

(%)
Pick and pay Large pre- assembled packages Pick a pack Other
Considering their situations and perspectives, and your own television habits, which one of these three options would you choose and why? 51% 6% 36% 7%

Pick and pay (51%) is the most preferred option.

  • Men (57%) are particularly likely to choose pick and pay while women prefer pick a pack (49%). Only 37% of women prefer pick and pay.
  • French TV viewers are much more likely to choose pick a pack (53%). Quebec is also the most likely to choose pick a pack (48%).

Sports Programming

Q. Whose views are more persuasive to you? (Choose only one)

  • Ethan, because television viewers who cannot afford to pay more, should be able to watch important sports programming
  • Eva, because as sports broadcast rights become increasingly expensive, only those that are interested in watching should pay.
(%) Whose views are more persuasive to you?
Ethan Eva
Whose views are more persuasive to you? 36% 64%

By a two to one margin, participants prefer Eva’s view that only those interested should pay for sports.

In general, this idea is widely shared. Demographic differences are small as all groups tend to lean toward Eva’s view.

Access to U.S. and International Programming

Q. Do you want more direct access to American channels?
Q. Do you want more direct access to International channels (non-US)?

(%) Yes, wants more direct access to…
American channels International channels (Non-US)
Yes, wants more direct access to… 65% 67%

About two thirds of participants want more direct access to American and International (non-US) channels.

  • There is a significant age effect with younger participants much more likely to want more direct access to American channels (80% of those 18 to 24).
  • Men (69%) are much more likely than women (56%) to want more direct access to the American channels. Differences are smaller when it comes to international channels.
  • Immigrants (79%), particularly those who moved here in the last 10 years (84%) or 11 to 20 years (87%), want more access to international channels.
  • French-language TV viewers are less likely to want more American. (38%) or international channels (60%).

Access to U.S. and International Programming by Age

Q. Do you want more direct access to American channels?
Q. Do you want more direct access to International channels (non-US)?

(%)
18 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 plus
American 80% 75% 71% 61% 53% 48%
International (non-US) 72% 71% 69% 64% 63% 63%

Tradeoffs for Access to U.S. and International Programming

Q. Would you want more American and other international channels if this meant paying more?
Q. Would you want more American and other international channels if this meant that some Canadian-made shows and channels (and the associated jobs) may no longer be available?

(%) Yes, wants more direct access even if…
this meant paying more? this meant that some Canadian-made shows and channels (and the associated jobs) may no longer be available?
Yes, wants more direct access even if… 48% 45%

Almost half of those who want more direct access would still want it if this meant paying more or if it meant that some Canadian-made shows and channels would no longer be available.

  • Men who want more access are slightly more likely than women to be willing to pay (50% versus 43%) but are much more likely to still want access even if Canadian shows were not as available (45% versus 21%).
  • Higher income is associated with a greater willingness to pay (57% of those with income $100k or more) and to want access regardless of its impact on Canadian programming (52%).
  • French-language TV viewers are less likely to pay more (39%) or to want access if it impacts Canadian content (29%).

International Channels as Package with Canadian Channels

Q. If you could get direct access to international channels, but only in a package with certain Canadian channels – would you be willing to pay for that?

Interest in Accessing More Direct Access in a Package with Certain Canadian Channels
Yes No
  46% 54%

Just under half of participants (46%) would pay for a package that included direct access to international channels and certain Canadian channels together.

  • Although men are more likely to pay for access to more direct access, they are actually less interested (41%) than women (59%) in accessing international channels this way.
  • French-language TV viewers who are interested in more access like the package idea (64%).

Signal Substitution

Q. Which of these approaches would provide a better balance between protecting programming rights and giving viewers choice?

(%)
Signal substitution Blackouts Pay extra for US stations
Which of these approaches would provide a better balance between protecting programming rights and giving viewers choice? 54% 7% 39%

Signal substitution is the preferred approach for balancing programming rights and viewer’s choice. Paying extra is the next most popular.

  • The pay option is much more likely to be favoured by those who want more access to American stations (47%).
  • Women (58%) are slightly more likely to favour signal substitution.
  • Higher income participants are slightly more willing to pay extra (43% for those with income of $100k or more).
  • Younger participants (48% for those under 35) are less likely to like signal substitution compared with older participants (62% for those 65+).

Online Programming

Q. Who do you agree with?

Jenny, an independent producer, thinks online services like Netflix are getting a free ride by not contributing to the production of Canadian-made programming: more jobs would be created and Canadian stories need to be told on all platforms. In addition, these services are not even required to provide closed-captioning and adhere to programming standards.

John, an engineer and early adopter of new technologies, likes the amount of programming he gets for a very modest price and wouldn't want to pay a penny more for what he's receiving. He does not think online services should be required to contribute to Canadian-made programming if it is going to increase the price for consumers.

(%) Who do you agree with?
Jenny John
Who do you agree with? 33% 67%

John’s view that online services should not have to contribute to Canadian-made programming is preferred over Jenny’s.

  • Men (72%) are more likely to take John’s position as are younger people. Among 18 to 24 year olds, 74% take John’s view compared with only 62% of those 65 or older.
  • French-language TV viewers are much more likely to support Jenny’s view (55%).

Willingness to Pay $0.50 to Get More Canadian Content

Q. If you agree with Jenny, would you be willing to pay an additional $0.50 per month to an online service to be able to choose more Canadian-made programming?

[IF AGREES WITH JENNY] Willing to Pay a Fee
Yes No
  86% 14%

Almost all (86%) of those who take Jenny’s position are willing to pay an additional $0.50 per month to be able to choose more Canadian-made programming.

Standards for Online Services

Q. Should online services be required to provide closed-captioning and adhere to programming standards?
Q. If you answered yes to the previous question, would you be willing to pay a few additional cents per month for online services to meet these requirements?

Less than half (41%) think online services should be required to have closed captioning (CC) and programming standards. For those whodo, 68% are willing to pay a few cents per month for online services to meet these requirements.

  • Women (53%) and older participants (52% of those 65 or older) are more likely to think online services should have CC and standards.
  • French-language TV viewers (48%) are also more likely to want CC and standards for online services.
Online Services Should be Required to have Closed-Captioning and Standards
Yes No
  41% 59%
If Yes, Willing to Pay a Few Cents Per Month
Yes No
  68% 32%

Pay for Unlimited Streaming

Q. If streaming content from online services that meet the above requirements didn’t count against your Internet access data cap, would you be willing to pay a small flat fee of $5 per month to cover increased usage costs?

(%) Willing to Pay $5 Fee to Stream
Yes No
Willing to Pay $5 Fee to Stream 29% 71%

A minority (29%) of participants would be willing to pay $5 per month to cover the cost of online streaming if this did not count against their data cap.

  • Men (26%) are slightly less likely than women (34%) to agree.
  • Higher income participants are more willing to pay the $5; 33% of those with $100k or more income would compared with 22% of those with less than $40k.
  • French-language TV viewers are somewhat more likely to pay (35%).