CRTC shows cable, IPTV and satellite subscriptions declined in 2015, but revenue is steady

Blais CRTC

With the rise of over-the-top (OTT) subscription streaming platforms like Netflix and Android TV set-top boxes that aid consumers in sourcing pirated media content for free, many believe it’s only a matter of time before telecomm companies lose their grip entirely on the TV industry.

But according to recent data from the Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission (CRTC), while the decline in subscribers is real, the industry has managed to prop itself up on higher monthly rates, at least for now.

The CRTC’s data focuses on companies that offer cable, satellite and Internet Protocol television (IPTV), like Zazeen or Vmedia, which deliver television services through the internet, much like VOIP services for phones. It reveals both statistical and financial information rounded up over the course of a year from August 2014 to 2015.

One of the major findings the data shows is that while the overall number of subscribers declined 11.4 million in 2014 to 1.2 million in 2015 (continuing a two-year downward trend), the average total revenue per subscriber increased from $62.25 in 2014 to $66.08 per month in 2015.

Perhaps as a result of this, the companies only experienced an incremental decline in overall revenue of 0.1 percent, dropping by $11.8 million to $8.9 billion. At the same time expenses grew by 1.3 percent to $7.2 billion. This led to the lowest operating margin level in five years, but at 19 percent, it was still relatively healthy.

Also declining in the sector are employment rates, which dropped by 6.3 percent, and investment in the creation and production of Canadian content, which decreased by $38.1 million from 475 million in 2014.

A bright spot in the sector appears to be IPTV, which showed double-digit increases in subscribers for 2015 and $6.6 billion from programming services, an increase of 1.7 percent from 2014.

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