Analysis of CRTC Choicebook: Panel

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

1 May 2014

Methodology

The data presented here are based on a representative sample drawn from the Ekos ProbIt online panel, which is a randomly recruited panel.

Respondents were randomly selected to participate in this study and were invited (by email) to visit the Choicebook site.

A total of 1252 completions were achieved. A sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8%. The margin of error for subsamples will be larger. The data presented here are weighted based on age within gender within region.

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 (62%) of the general public would prefer a basic cable service that is the lowest price possible.
  • In general, the general public leans toward the view that the local news is important (71%). There is, however, a major generational gap at work such that younger Canadians do not value local news.
  • Pick a pack (53%) is favoured over pick and pay (33%).
  • A viewer pay model (55%) is preferred when it comes to sports programming.
  • About two in three participants want more direct access to American (61%) and 47% want more direct access to international channels. Of those who want more direct access, 38% would be willing to pay and 31% would still want more access even if it meant less Canadian programming.
  • Signal substitution (63%) 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 (61%) whose position is that online services should not be required.
  • Those who felt like Jenny that online services get a free ride are mostly (84%) willing to pay $0.50 per month for more Canadian content.
  • A small majority (57%) of participants do not think that online services should be required to have closed captioning and programming standards.
  • 36% would be in favour of paying $5 per month so that they could stream television and not have the data count against their cap.

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? 38% 62%

By almost a two to one ratio, Canadians prefer Phan’s approach (62%) that provides a basic service that is at the lowest price point possible.

  • Those that come from households with less than $40,000 in income are more likely to prefer Phan’s approach (69%).
  • Young Canadians are the least likely to like Phan’s approach (57%) and middle aged the most likely (67% for 45 to 54 year olds).
  • Atlantic Canadians are the most likely to prefer Phan’s approach (71%). British Columbia is the least likely (57%).
  • English TV watchers (62%) are equally likely as French TV watchers (62%) to choose Phan.

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 - for them it is the best way to get a perspective on the day's events.
  • 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? 71% 29%

More than 7 in 10 share the view of Andrew and Mary that the local news is part of their day that they value.

  • High income households are less likely than others to value local news (65%).
  • The biggest effect is by age (next slide). While 18 to 34 year olds are divided about the value of local news, older Canadians are disproportionately value it.
  • The Prairies (82%) and Atlantic Canada (79%) are most likely to agree with Andrew and Mary.

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 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 plus
Andrew and Mary: Enjoy local newscast, it is part of their routine. 54% 67% 73% 88% 81%
Matthew: is interested in global news and information which he gets personalized, in-depth and up-to-date on his smartphone. 46% 33% 27% 12% 19%

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 a pack Pick and pay Large pre-assembled packages Other
Considering their situations and perspectives, and your own television habits, which one of these three options would you choose and why? 53% 33% 9% 6%

The most preferred option is the pick a pack option (53%). Large, pre-assembled packages (9%) are the least likely to be preferred.

  • Pick a pack is somewhat more favoured by lower income Canadians (59% of those earning less than $40,000).
  • Women (61%) are much more likely to choose a pick a pack. Men are almost equally likely to like pick and pay (42%) as pick a pack (44%).
  • B.C. is the most likely to prefer Pick and Pay (44%) and least to like Pick a Pack (46%).

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.
(%)
Ethan Eva
Whose views are more persuasive to you? 45% 55%

Canadians are divided on the question of sports programming but lean to Eva’s view that only those that are interested in watching should pay (55%).

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… 61% 47%

Sixty-one per cent of Canadians want more direct access to American channels and almost half (47%) want more international channel access.

  • The desire for more access to channels is higher among younger demographics (of those under, 68% want more U.S. and 56% want more International access).
  • Income is slightly related to wanting more international channel.
  • Men are more likely to want more direct access to U.S. (64%) and international (56%) channels.
  • Those born outside of Canada are more likely to want more International channels (68%).
  • Quebec residents are the least likely to want more direct access to U.S. channels (47%) but are equally likely to want direct access to international ones.
  • Those who watch TV primarily in French are also less likely to want more direct access to U.S. (40%) and International (40%) channels.

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… 38% 31%

Less than half of those who are interested in having more U.S. and/or more International channels are willing to pay more (unspecified amount) or would still want to if this meant Canadian channels/shows would no longer be available.

  • Willingness to pay is related to household income with lower income households less likely to be willing to pay.
  • Interestingly, interest in more channels is also higher, even if it means fewer Canadian shows/ channels, among higher income households.
  • Men are more likely than women to want more direct access under both conditions.

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?

Interested in Access to more Channels as Package [if interested in more channels]
Yes No
  55% 45%

Just over half of Canadians (55%) are interested in having, and paying for, direct access to international channels if they were in a package with certain Canadian channels.

  • Younger Canadians (62% of those under 30) are more interested.

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? 63% 5% 32%

The current signal substitution approach is the preferred one (63%) but a significant segment (32%) would like to pay extra for U.S. channels.

  • Lower income households are somewhat more likely to prefer the signal substitution approach (65% of those in the under $40,000 category).
  • There are significant age-related differences. Those under 35 (59%) and 35 to 44 (53%) are less likely to like signal substitution compared with seniors (72%).

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.

(%)
Jenny John
Who do you agree with? 39% 61%

When it comes to online programming, more Canadians choose John’s (61%) position that online services should not have to contribute to Canadian-made programming.

  • Age and income are largely unrelated to one’s position on this issue.
  • Quebec residents are more likely to take Jenny’s position (48%) with B.C. the next most likely to take this position (43%).

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?

Willing to pay among those who agree with Jenny
Yes No
  84% 16%

Although Jenny’s position is in the minority (38%) chose it, those who did are willing to back up their position with a financial commitment. Eighty-four per cent 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?

Just over half of Canadians (57%) think online services should provide closed-captioning and adhere to standards. Of these, a majority (59%) would pay a few cents a month.

  • Canadians in high income households are much less likely (46%) to think online services should have the same requirements.
  • Women are more likely to want closed-captioning and standards (62%).
  • Quebec (62%), Ontario (60%) and Manitoba/Saskatchewan (62%) provide highest support for standards. Those who watch TV in French (68%) are also somewhat more supportive of standards.
Online Services Should be Required to have Closed-Captioning and Standards
Yes No
  57% 43%
If Yes, Willing to Pay a Few Cents Per Month
Yes No
  59% 41%

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 36% 64%

Just over one in three (36%) are willing to pay a $5 a month fee so that streaming content from online services does not count against their Internet data cap.

  • High income households are slightly more likely (37% of those with income above $100,000) but even in this group it is a minority position.
  • Younger Canadians like this idea more than older ones. Among those under 35 years, 41% would pay $5 fee.
  • Albertans (27%) are the least likely to be willing to pay and Ontarians are the most likely (40%).

Unweighted View Profile

Key Demographic Characteristics (%)

A total of 1252 people completed the Choicebook. The data were weighted based on Statistics Canada information for age, gender and region to correct for the tendency for some groups to be more likely to complete the process.

The numbers shown here are unweighted. They reflect the actual proportion, before weighting, of the groups in the sample.

(%) Provinces
Atlantic Quebec Ontario Man/SA Alberta B.C. Territories
Provinces 5% 14% 38% 5% 14% 24% 0%
(%) Sex
Male Female
Sex 50% 50%
(%) Misc.
Children under 11 years Born outside of Canada
Misc. 13% 16%
(%) First language
English French Other
First language 83% 10% 7%
(%) Age
18 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 44 45 to 54 55 to 64 65 plus
Age 2% 10% 13% 22% 29% 24%
(%) Household Income
Less than 40,000 40,000 to 69,999 70,000 to 99,999 100,000 or more
Household Income 32% 27% 18% 23%