Cost of living prompts 1-in-3 to cancel cable subscriptions
While House of the Dragon, Stranger Things or the latest Marvel offering may still represent must-see viewing for Canadians, households across the country are making hard choices about which shows – and the subscription they require – they enjoy most.
As subscription costs increase, streaming platforms threaten to crack down on password sharing and even introduce advertisements, new data from the Angus Reid Institute finds one-in-three Canadians have cancelled at least one service in the past six months. For at least half, these cancellations are in direct response to a persistent and ongoing cost of living crisis roiling households.
Others say they have made cuts to their subscription portfolio because they weren’t using certain services as much (39 per cent) or that the selection wasn’t up to par (24 per cent).
While these decisions may represent a current setback for streaming service providers, the overall trend in viewing is still working largely in their favour.
More than four-in-five (85 per cent) now say they have at least one streaming service subscription, up from approximately half in 2016.
Conversely, as Canadians continue to move toward the on-demand model, just three-in-five now say they subscribe to cable or satellite TV. This represents a five-point drop from 2018 and a 27-point drop over the past decade. For Canadians over the age of 54, this traditional viewership model remains a much bigger part of life – four-in-five (82 per cent) say they still subscribe. Half as many 18- to 34-year-olds say the same (41 per cent).
For those who have trimmed streaming subscriptions, half (53 per cent) did so to save money. A further one-in-five (19 per cent) say they cut one or more because they had too many.
What is and isn’t on the streaming service was another matter for many who cancelled subscriptions. There are significant numbers who say they weren’t watching the service they axed (39 per cent), there wasn’t anything on to watch (24 per cent), or a show they watched was removed from the catalogue (15 per cent). Almost one-in-10 (8 per cent) cut a streaming service because they feel like there isn’t any difference between them.
Younger Canadians are more likely to cite cost as a reason they cut a streaming service than older ones