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Time Spent On Digital in Canada Surpasses That of Traditional Media

Digital video reaches nearly one-third of total daily viewing time

Media consumption in Canada has reached a tipping point. This year, for the first time, adults in Canada will spend more daily time with digital content than with traditional media, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on time spent with media.

In 2019, adults in Canada will spend an average of 4 hours, 55 minutes on digital devices, compared with 4 hours, 54 minutes with traditional media, such as TV, radio and print.

Consumers’ time spent with digital media, which includes all online activities, will grow 2.6% this year. This growth has been in steady decline since 2011, when eMarketer began its forecast.

Conversely, traditional media consumption will drop 2.5% in 2019, the eighth consecutive year of declines.

Video is a major driver of growth in digital consumption. In fact, video time is directly replacing TV time. Average daily video time this year will jump by 5 minutes to 1 hour, 32 minutes, reaching nearly one-third of total (digital video and TV) viewing time. Traditional TV time will drop by 5 minutes to 3 hours, 4 minutes.

“More than any other country in our global forecast, digital video time is greatest in Canada in relation to TV time,” said Paul Briggs, eMarketer’s senior analyst on Canada. “This is due to the immense popularity of Netflix and YouTube among Canadians.”

Mobile devices and rich experiences in apps are also key drivers of increased digital time. Media consumption on mobile now exceeds 3 hours daily, on par with TV.

“Mobile’s ascent is not just a device story, it’s a services story,” Briggs said. “Digital services like social feeds are inherently mobile, and video platforms now deliver highly watchable content on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets.”

Advertising dollars are following eyeballs. Digital ad spending in Canada surpassed traditional for the first time in 2018. This trend—up from less than one-third of all spending in 2014 (30.8%)—shows no sign of slowing down, due to high levels of brand activation and engagement in digital advertising formats.

The increase in digital advertising has come at the expense of traditional formats, which show slight annual declines. TV remains a large and stable ad market at CA$3.21 billion ($2.48 billion), or 19.5% of all ad spending. This represents modest growth—0.7% this year—though we expect TV spending to decline slightly in upcoming years, as brands divert brand-building budgets in TV to more targeted and measurable advertising via digital channels like social media.

To learn more about time spent on media in Canada, read our PRO View report publishing May 30.