I read an article recently that indicated Canadians stream more content online than Americans do. At first, this startled me a bit, and then I realized why. Canadian’s can’t access the same content that American’s can. The CRTC regulates all content related to TV and radio. I have mentioned them in a previous post, so I won’t get into it too much, however, I will say that they set the rules.
In Canada, 50% of the content aired in prime time must be Canadian. What exactly does that mean? There are many factors that go into this determination, so I won’t get into it too much. However, content needs to originate in Canada in some way. While there are some really good shows out there that originate in Canada, a lot of what I like to watch doesn’t. The only way to access this non-Canadian content is online. I believe this is one reason why Canadians stream more content online.
Canadian cable companies are seeing an increase in cutting the cord, or cord shaving, as was described recently. They know people are leaving, and they’re trying to bring them back through their own online streaming options. And this is a good way to compete, but originally you needed to purchase a subscription from that provider. This seems to have changed to allow for greater competition. There are still many shows that Canadian’s can’t access through these traditional means. Which means, they’re willing to find their way into a grey area in order to access content. Including, DNS masking and the use of VPN’s. This might sound like a lot of effort and maybe it is, but what are your other options?
Don’t get me wrong. We can access the big networks without any trouble, and maybe that’s all you need. But for me, I am frustrated with the lack of football and basketball options. Again – I’m able to watch whatever ABC, NBC and CBS are showing, but that doesn’t mean I can always watch the teams that I like. There are many other options for streaming that aren’t in this “grey” area. So maybe we just watch a whole lot more Netflix than our American friends.
Another article I read indicated that 30% of households reported to use some kind of online streaming device (AppleTV, Roku or Chromecast), which has doubled since 2013. In addition, the number of households cord shaving has increased by 20% since 2012. The CRTC recently changed the TV rules, which gives people more options at a lower cost. You would think that it would have had the opposite affect, but I guess not. Another reason for the increase in cord shaving? Millennials. Younger people, who are a bit more technologically savvy are finding other ways to watch TV. Accessing TV isn’t always straight forward if you do end up cutting or shaving the cord, but it seems that millennials are more willing to put in a little effort, or be a bit more inconvenienced if it means they don’t have to shell out a ton of cash to a cable company.
There are lots of great options and ways to access content, but you have to look at it from a cost-benefit analysis. You can pay for a system through a cable company knowing that if it isn’t working, they will come and fix it. Or you can set up your own system, but understand that you have to fix and maintain that system.