16% of Canadians are so-called 'cord cutters' who only watch web video: report

TORONTO – About 16 per cent of Canadian adults said they no longer watch any conventional TV and strictly stream online content, according to a report by measurement firm comScore.

The research, which was commissioned by Google, also found that 45 per cent of respondents said they watch both TV and online video content, 35 per cent said they only watch TV, and four per cent said they watch neither.

Younger viewers were more likely to be “cord cutters” — a nickname for consumers who don’t pay for TV and rely on digital video for their entertainment.

About one in four respondents aged 18 to 24 said they were a cord cutter, as did about one in five of those aged 25 to 34. About 15 per cent of those over 35 said they had cut the cord.

Consumers aged 45 and older were the most likely to only watch TV. About half of the respondents in that group said they didn’t watch online video, while only 16 per cent of the youngest 18-to-24 cohort said the same.

While the estimated number of cord cutters is still relatively small, they’ve grown significantly in recent years, especially in younger demographics.

Among 18- to 24-year-olds, the number of cord cutters has grown by 60 per cent (to about 25 per cent) since 2010, according to comScore. And the growth rate is 270 per cent for those aged 25 to 34 (to about 19 per cent).

When asked if they expected to watch more or less online content and TV in the year ahead, 19 per cent of all respondents predicted they’d watch more web video in the future, while only six per cent said they thought they’d watch more TV.

Users were also asked how watching TV was better than viewing online video, and vice versa. Among the most common responses from those who prefer TV were that it offered the best picture quality, a better viewing experience, and an easier way to watch. For those preferring the experience of watching online video, respondents commonly said they valued that it was cheaper, more interactive, and more convenient.

ComScore also provided some stats on Canadians’ use of YouTube, the top video site on the web. Based on a three-month average ending in March, comScore said Canadians were watching 2.9 billion videos, for a total runtime of 5.3 billion minutes, monthly on YouTube. Per user, it worked out to 127 videos each and an average of five clips per visit.