Canadian pay TV subs in decline

Canadian media watchdog CTRC has issued 2015 figures that reveal a decrease in subscribers, revenues and employees across the sector, and an increase in costs.

The sobering 2015 stats round-up from the Canadian communications regulator shows that cumulative pay TV subs decreased to 11.2 million, a 200,000 decline year-on-year.

Across the cable and IPTV operators revenues fell slightly while costs increased, leading to operating margins hitting a five-year low at 19%. The number of people employed by these pay TV services fell 6.3% in the year to end-August 2015, taking the total to 27,244.

The losses mainly came from the cablers with the IPTV services actually growing their subs bases, although these remain much smaller than those of their cable counterparts.

One bright note was that ARPU increased marginally to C$65.25 (US$50.06) from C$66.08 in 2014.

Amid concern among producers about regulatory changes introduced after last year’s Let’s Talk TV hearings, the 2015 stats show an increase on the amount spent by pay operators on local programming. The total, C$436.9 million, was up C$38.1 million on the 2014 figure.

Spending by television service providers on the creation and production of Canadian-made content decreased by C$38.1 million in 2015 to C$436.9 million. Of this amount, C$219.6 million was directed to the Canada Media Fund, C$64.7 million to independent funds and C$152.6 million to community channels and other sources of local content.

The numbers for the satellite providers were worse than those for the cablers with revenues down 5.2%, taking the total to C$2.4 billion. DTH TV subs fell 7.2% in 2015, to 2.6 million.

The CRTC figures only relate to the TV services operated by the cable, satellite and IPTV companies, not the telephony and broadband services they often bundle alongside video.

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