How do seniors consume media?

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New research from MTM shows older English speakers overwhelmingly subscribe to cable and use tablets over smartphones.

It will come as a surprise to few that Anglophone seniors in Canada are still heavy TV viewers and print readers. The latest report from Media Technology Monitor (MTM) measures just how much older Anglophones lean towards legacy media, but also creates a picture of how this sizeable portion of the population is using newer technology.

More than nine in 10 surveyed Anglophone seniors subscribe to cable, satellite or fibre optic TV compared with 74% of Canadians aged 70 and under. (The report defines seniors as being 71 years old and over, a  group that currently makes up one-tenth of the adult Anglophone population in Canada.)

TV remains the top choice for seniors consuming media, watching an average of 21.3 hours of TV per week compared with 11.1 hours for younger Canadians. Only 1% of this senior group report adopting the “TV my way” method of viewing – cutting the cable cord and selecting programming online. That’s compared with 14% of Anglophone Canadians under 70.

When it came to newer viewing options, one quarter of seniors reported watching YouTube videos, but only 2% reported using the platform to watch full TV shows and 4% use it for movie viewing.

Seniors also report listening to 11 hours of radio per week and spending an average of 7.8 hours on the internet per week, compared to 8.3 hours and and 23.1 hours, respectively.

When it comes to smartphone adoption, English-speaking seniors are evenly split between those who have smartphones (30%), those with basic cellphones (31%) and those without a cellphone at all (35%). Nearly one-third of seniors have a tablet, slightly higher than the percentage that owns a smartphone (32% versus 30%). IPads are the most popular tablet for the group, with 22% of the surveyed demo owning one. The Samsung Galaxy tablet comes in at 5% ownership.

Anglophone Canadians over 71 are more likely to be heavy news users than younger Anglophones, at 45% versus 31%. The newspaper is still a key source of news for the group, with 43% having a print newspaper subscription.

Seniors are also heavy viewers of specialty news channels, with 79% reporting to watch the channels versus 58% of younger Anglophone Canadians.

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From Media in Canada