Half of Canadians regularly stream with AVOD

New research suggests 10% of total streaming time now goes to ad-supported platforms.

It should be no surprise that streaming as a whole has continued to grow among Canadian TV viewers, but content from ad-supported services now make up a significant portion of time spent watching shows, a new study has found.

A follow-up to a 2020 study, the research was conducted by Fuse Insights on behalf of Roku, polling 2,500 Canadians in March.

By the end of 2020, 77% of Canadians (or 29.3 million people) were watching streaming TV services. Nearly half (46%), have signed up for a new streaming service in the last 12 months and 60% of Canadian TV streamers surveyed say that streaming offers the only TV service they really need.

Among this, the ad supported streaming space has entrenched itself with Canadian TV viewers. According to the survey, over half of Canadian TV streamers regularly use ad-supported (AVOD) streaming services – an estimated 15 million Canadians – with AVOD services estimated to take up 10% of total streaming time. This is despite the fact that 74% of Canadians feel like there are too many ads on cable TV – an area where AVOD, with its slightly lower ad loads, can be more appealing.

In Québec, where streaming adoption has been culturally slower, the percentage of people streaming at the end of 2020 grew by an estimated 68% of the population (or about 5.8 million). Streaming reach in Québec has grown by approximately 18% year-over-year.

Nearly three-quarters of surveyed TV streamers (72%) have a smart TV in their home, a figure up from 62% in 2020. Two-thirds of TV streamers (66%) have a streaming device such as a Roku player, Chromecast, or Fire TV Stick, representing a 4% increase over last year. They’re also watching a larger number of streaming services on those TVs.

Last year, the Roku/Fuse survey found that TV streaming users could be found in every aspect of society, though the numbers did skew somewhat younger. That is no longer the case. As streaming has gained popularity over the past year, its has made inroads with older Canadians and Francophones. Over the past 12 months growth in streaming was strongest among the ages of 55-plus (16%) but there has also been increase among other age groups: 11% among millennials and Gen Xers between 35 and 54. The 18-34 group, already heavy streamers, grew 6% over the past year. Beyond age groups, streaming has made significant inroads among parents (90% of parents with kids under 18 now have streaming TV services), higher-income families, and with people planning meaningful life events, such as starting a new job (12%), getting married (4%), and buying a home (8%).