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Four ways Canadians are consuming media differently

Phones are no longer just for making calls. TV sets no longer pull in content just from antennas, satellites or cables. The media world has changed.

For advertisers spending billions each year to reach people, one of the biggest concerns is to understand how people are consuming media – and whether those ad dollars are going to the right place.

On Thursday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Canada) released an annual study that it has done since 2004, to help paint that picture.

The IAB's Canadian Media Usage Study, conducted with media and communications agency PHD Canada, pulls together data from different organizations that measure media consumption (including Numeris for TV and radio ratings, the Print Measurement Bureau for magazines, NADBank for print, and NADBank and Comscore for online.) The research also attempts to address a gap in measurement for advertisers who have embraced digital media.

All in all, the numbers make it look as though people are spending a lot more time consuming media – 21 per cent more, according to the researchers. But a lot of it is accounted for by multitasking, such as checking social networks while watching television.

"It's overlapping time," said Rob Young, PHD's senior vice president and director of insight and analytics. "The biggest culprit is the TV-Internet combo."

The data is imperfect, since different measurement agencies use different methods. Ultimately, IAB Canada is arguing for a more integrated measurement of media use, instead of the current scattered approach that sees different organizations responsible for just one part of the media landscape.

Here are some of the main takeaways:

THE DEVICES WE USE (all adults vs. younger)

The growth in time spent on the Internet is driven by the growing number of connected devices we have with us all the time.

“Over-the-top” devices that connect TVs to the Web (e.g. Apple TV)

18+: 28 per cent (up from 21 per cent last year)

18-34: 29 per cent (up from 23 per cent last year)

Connected car devices (same for both age groups)

7 per cent

Tablets (same for both age groups)

42 per cent (up from 31 per cent last year, or 32 per cent for 18-34 year olds)


18+: 62 per cent (up from 56 per cent in 2013)

18-34: 84 per cent (up from 80 per cent in 2013)

Desktop/laptop computer

18+: 89 per cent (up from 84 per cent last year)

18-34: 92 per cent (same as last year)

TIME SPENT, BY MEDIUM (per week per capita)

IAB Canada estimates that as much as 40 per cent of time spent on the Internet in Canada is “buried.” That’s because existing measurement looks at Internet access through computers and mobile devices, but can miss data from Internet-connected TVs, gaming consoles, and video watched on mobile devices. In order to fill in those gaps, and show a more complete estimation of the time we spend on the Internet, the study combined comScore data with data gathered from other sources.


All adults 18+: 29 hours 18 minutes

18-24: 20 hours 18 minutes

25-34: 20 hours 36 minutes

35-54: 26 hours 12 minutes

55+: 39 hours 42 minutes


All adults 18+: 17 hours 45 minutes

18-24: 11 hours 15 minutes

25-34: 14 hours 54 minutes

35-54: 18 hours 55 minutes

55+: 20 hours 2 minutes

Internet – standard measurement

All adults 18+: 16 hours 57 minutes

18-24: 23 hours 4 minutes

25-34: 23 hours 30 minutes

35-54: 20 hours 43 minutes

55+: 7 hours 50 minutes

Total Internet – including “unearthed” time as estimated by this study, mostly accounted for through mobile video watching

All adults 18+: 27 hours 49 minutes

18-24: 47 hours 14 minutes

25-34: 43 hours 20 minutes

35-54: 32 hours 38 minutes

55+: 11 hours 7 minutes


All adults 18+: 3 hours 9 minutes

18-24: 1 hour 40 minutes

25-34: 2 hours 12 minutes

35-54: 2 hours 31 minutes

55+: 4 hours 26 minutes


All adults 18+: 34 minutes

18-24: 26 minutes

25-34: 29 minutes

35-54: 34 minutes

55+: 39 minutes

THE MEDIA WE CONSUME ONLINE (per week per capita)

Of course, the numbers above for what are often known as “legacy” media are only measured in the traditional space: the Internet adds to that time. The numbers below how much, according to the “unearthed” number estimates. They also show other ways Internet time is spent.

Online video

Adults 18+: 12 hours 30 minutes

Adults 18-34: 23 hours 38 minutes

In addition to the above, online video “cobranded” with TV (i.e. provided by traditional TV networks/providers)

Adults 18+: 19 minutes

Adults 18-34: 32 minutes

Online radio (eg. Spotify)

Adults 18+: 27 minutes

Adults 18-34: 27 minutes

In addition to the above, online radio programming “cobranded” with a radio station that existed before the Internet (eg.

Adults 18+: 27 minutes

Adults 18-34: 27 minutes

Online-only newspaper content (eg. Huffington Post)

Adults 18+: 32 minutes

Adults 18-34: 36 minutes

In addition to the above, newspaper content “cobranded” with a newspaper that existed before the Internet (eg.

Adults 18+: 7 minutes

Adults 18-34: 1 minute

Online-only magazine-type content (eg. food blogs)

Adults 18+: 15 minutes

Adults 18-34: 17 minutes

In addition to the above, magazine content “cobranded” with a magazine that existed before the Internet (eg.

Adults 18+: 1 minute

Adults 18-34: 1 minute


Adults 18+: 2 hours 4 minutes

Adults 18-34: 2 hours 26 minutes


Adults 18+: 3 hours 55 minutes

Adults 18-34: 6 hours 6 minutes

Text (e.g. corporate websites or other text-based sites)

Adults 18+: 5 hours 43 minutes

Adults 18-34: 8 hours 43 minutes

Interactive (e.g. banking and trading sites, online maps, etc.)

Adults 18+: 1 hour 34 minutes

Adults 18-34: 48 minutes


Online video is eating up a significant share of people’s time spent online. However, online video is not commanding the same share of advertising spending.

“The Internet is starting to look a lot like television,” Mr. Young said. “…Marketers are playing catch-up.”

Here’s a look at how it shakes out:

Minutes spent per week per capita (Adults 18+):

Combined TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, other Internet content: 4,715/84 per cent

Online video: 769/16 per cent

2013 advertising revenue

Combined TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, other Internet content: $10.75-million/99 per cent

Online video: $146-million/1 per cent

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