Analysis of CRTC Choicebook: Comparison of Panel, Public, and Public Weighted

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

1 May 2014

About this Report

The process of collecting public input through the Choicebook exercise involved two different audiences.

  1. Panel: A representative sample of Canadians was selected using the Probit panel. These results represent what average Canadians think when exposed to the information and questions in the Choicebook.
  2. Public: A self-selected group of Canadians who undertook the Choicebook process by going to a public site. Participants were encouraged to visit through outreach and advertising by the CRTC as well as through word-of-mouth and the encouragement of stakeholders.

Separate reports are available that detail how each of these two audiences responded to the information and questions. As we would expect, there are both some similarities and some differences in the feedback that the two groups provided.

Although we expect differences in the two participant groups, the goal of this report is to understand how much of the differences in the two can be attributed to demographic differences in the composition of the two groups.

We know, for example, that the public group was more likely to be male (70%) and tended to be younger than the actual population of Canada. To control for this, in this report we provide the public data presented both unweighted and weighted (by age within gender within region). Weighting is an effective way of re-balancing the results to show the effect of the demographic versus attitudinal differences of the public data.

The weighting of the public data is for illustrative purposes and the fact that certain groups were more likely to take part in the public process is a significant finding on its own.

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.
(%) Doreen, Jeannine and Sierra
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Doreen, Jeannine and Sierra 38% 35% 39%
(%) Phan
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Phan 62% 65% 61%

On the question of the nature of a basicservice, there is little substantive difference between the panel and public view point.

The weighting of the public results narrows the difference between the panel and public result but does not change the overall policy implication.

  • Although men are much more likely than women in the public to chose Phan, this is not evident in the panel group.

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.
(%) Andrew and Mary
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Andrew and Mary 71% 51% 57%
(%) Matthew
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Matthew 29% 49% 43%

There is a very large difference between how a representative sample of Canadians (panel) and the self-selected public sample views local news. Participants in the public process were less likely to take the position that local news is important (51%).

The weighting of the public results narrows the difference between the panel and public result from 20 points (71-51) to 14 points.

  • Men and women in the panel survey do not differ as much as in the public where men are dramatically more likely to chose Matthew’s position.
  • In the panel group, young people slightly favour Matthew but in the public group this difference is large.

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
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Pick a pack 53% 36% 46%
(%) Pick and pay
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Pick and pay 33% 51% 41%
(%) Large pre-assembled packages
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Large pre-assembled packages 9% 6% 7%
(%) Other
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Other 6% 7% 7%

The majority choice for the panel sample is “pick a pack” but this is not the majority choice for the public group. Instead, it prefers the “pick and pay” option.

The weighting of the public results narrows the difference substantially between the panel and public result such that the 17 point gap (53-36) for pick a pack is reduced to a 7 point gap. More than half the difference reflects demographic differences in who responded.

  • The gender differences that are large in the panel group are also evident in the public: men are more likely to choose pick and pay. It is not surprising that adjusting for gender in the weighting has an impact on the difference between the public and panel.

Sport 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
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Ethan 45% 36% 36%
(%) Eva
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Eva 55% 64% 64%

The representative panel group is more likely than the public group to choose Ethan’s view. That said, a majority of both groups chose the Eva position.

The weighting of the public results does not impact the panel public comparison. This is consistent with the small demographic differences in response within both groups.

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
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes, wants more direct access to American channels 61% 65% 61%
(%) International channels (Non-US)
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes, wants more direct access to International channels (Non-US) 47% 67% 64%

There is little difference in the appetite for more direct access to American channels between the panel and the public groups. There is, however, significantly higher interest among the public for direct access to non-U.S. International channels.

The weighting of the public results does not impact the panel public comparison significantly.

  • In both samples, men and younger Canadians are more likely to want more direct access.

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?
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes, wants more direct access even if this meant paying more 38% 48% 47%
(%) this meant that some Canadian- made shows and channels (and the associated jobs) may no longer be available?
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes, wants more direct access even if this meant that some Canadian- made shows and channels (and the associated jobs) may no longer be available 31% 45% 40%

Among those interested in more direct access to U.S. or International channels, the public group is much more likely to want access even in the face of significant costs either financial or in having less Canadian content.

The weighting of the public results does reduce the difference between the panel and public result, particularly for the impact on Canadian content. Nevertheless, much of the difference between the panel and public is attitudinal.

  • Men are more likely to want access, particularly in the public group so it is not surprising that controlling for gender reduces the gap.

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?

(%) Yes
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes 55% 46% 50%
(%) No
Panel Public Public (weighted)
No 45% 54% 50%

A majority (55%) of the representative panel group is willing to pay for a package with more direct access to international channels that includes Canadian channels but only 46% of those who responded to the public Choicebook are willing to pay.

The weighting of the public results reduces the difference between the public and panel by almost half.

  • Men and women do not differ within the panel group but men are less likely to like this idea in the public group.
  • Younger panelists are more likely to agree but do not differ within the public group.

Signal Substitution

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

(%) Signal substitution
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Signal substitution 63% 54% 56%
(%) Blackouts
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Blackouts 5% 7% 6%
(%) Pay extra for US stations
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Pay extra for US stations 32% 39% 38%

Signal substitution (63%) is the clear favourite approach among the panel but it is less favoured in the public results. The public is, however, most likely to select this option.

The weighting of the public reduces the difference between the public and panel but the difference does remain.

  • Younger members of both groups are less likely to support the signal substitution approach.

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
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Jenny 39% 33% 37%
(%) John
Panel Public Public (weighted)
John 61% 67% 63%

Both groups, panel and public, prefer John’s approach. This is somewhat truer for the public. The weighting of the public results narrows the difference between the panel and public result to almost the same proportions.

  • Within the panel, men and women do not differ but within the public men are more likely to take John’s position.
  • Younger members of the public group also favour John’s position, which is not evident in the panel group.

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…
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Willing to pay among those who agree with Jenny… 84% 86% 85%

When it comes to willingness to pay among those who support Jenny’s position, there is virtually no difference across the groups. This reflects the fact that if you agree with Jenny you are likely to support paying for more Canadian content regardless of how you came to complete the Choicebook.

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?

Although a majority of the panel (57%) agrees that there should be CC and standards, only 41% of the public input agrees. This large difference is narrowed slightly with weighting suggesting that fundamentally the public participants are less interested than a representative survey of Canadians. Interestingly, among those wanting to pay, it is the public respondents who are more willing to pay. In both the public and panel groups, women are more likely to favour standards.

Online services should be required to have closed captioning and adhere to standards

(%) Yes
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes 57% 41% 46%
(%) No
Panel Public Public (weighted)
No 43% 59% 54%

[IF YES] Willing to pay a few cents per month

(%) Yes
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes 59% 68% 66%
(%) No
Panel Public Public (weighted)
No 41% 32% 34%

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?

(%) Yes
Panel Public Public (weighted)
Yes 36% 29% 30%
(%) No
Panel Public Public (weighted)
No 64% 71% 70%

Neither the public nor the panel group are supportive of the idea of paying a flat fee for streaming that would then not count against an internet data cap.

The public group is somewhat more likely to be against the idea and weighting the data does not change it. This suggests that the public group does differ somewhat in attitudes about this question.

  • Although women are more likely to agree within the panel group, they are not within the public group.
  • Younger panel members like the idea more but this is not as evident within the public group.