CPE, PNI up in 2016: CRTC report

Plus, for the first time, the Communications Monitoring Report digs into revenues for internet-based video services in Canada (yes, that includes Netflix).

Canadian broadcasters spent $4.3 billion on programming expenditures in 2016, with nearly $3.1 billion of that spent on Canadian content, according to the CRTC’s latest Communications Monitoring Report.

Canadian programming expenditure (CPE) increased from $2.91 billion in 2015 to $3.06 billion in 2016. Of that, specialty and pay TV services spent $1.7 billion on Canadian programming, up 6.8% (or $108 million) over 2015.

The vast majority of that Canadian programming spend went to sports, however, with English specialty channels spending $626.9 million on sports in 2016, up a considerable 25.8% over 2015. French specialty channels also upped their sports spend to $193.4 million. In total, specialties spent 51% of CPE on sports programming, attributable in large part, the report noted, to Rogers’ and Groupe TVA’s obligations following their 2013 deal for NHL programming rights.

Consequently, private conventional saw a 3% dip in CPE to $633 million from $652 million in 2015, with the largest cut hitting sports programming (down 52.8% from $21 million to $10 million).

Aided by boosted federal funding, CBC conventional spent $635 million on Cancon in 2016, up 15% from $557 million in 2015, but still considerably lower than the $789 million spent in 2014.

Turning to programs of national interest (PNI), the Canadian broadcast sector spent $680.1 million on long-form doc, drama and comedy, variety and awards programming in 2016, up 11% from $612.8 million in 2015. Audience demand for premium dramas has seemingly led to an increase in broadcaster spend on the genre. Broadcasters increased their drama spend by 16.8%, from $408.1 million to $476.5 million in 2016.

Specialties spent the most on PNI at $383.5 million (up 18.1% from $324.6 million in 2015), with drama programming receiving $259.2 million of that, up a considerable 33.4% from $194.3 million in 2015. Long-form doc, meanwhile, received $96.6 million, down 14.7%.

CBC conventional spent $219 million on PNI in 2016, with $164.2 million going to drama (up 3.6% from $158.5 million in 2015) and $34.4 million on long-form doc (up 21.6% from $28.3 million).

Private conventional television, meanwhile, spent $77.6 million on PNI in 2016, with $53.1 million spent on drama, (down 4% from $55.3 million) and $8.2 million on long-form doc (up 12.3% from $7.3 million).

The CRTC report also details how much each of the private casters spent on PNI. Bell Media spent $136.7 million (with $89 million on drama, $38.8 million on long-form doc), while Corus spent $119.9 million ($99 million on drama, $20.8 million on long form doc) and Rogers spent $13.2 million ($6.7 million on drama, $6.5 million on long-form doc).

Spending on non-Canadian programming by private conventional television stations decreased 7% to $610.3 million in 2016, with the most prominent decrease in the drama programming category, which reported a year-over-year decrease of $36 million.


Overall Canadian broadcast revenues stayed relatively static, declining 0.5% in 2016 to $17.85 billion. However, that trend has persisted for the past five years, with overall broadcast revenues dropping 0.14% or 0.04% on average per year from 2012 to 2016.

Specialty and on-demand services reported $4.4 billion in revenues, up 2.9% from 2015. Of that, English-language specialty services reported $2.9 billion in revenues in 2016, while revenues for French-language specialty services rose 3.1% to $703 million.

CBC conventional TV also reported revenue growth, up 7% from $1.1 billion in 2015 to $1.18 billion in 2016. Contributing to the jump was a 20.9% increase in advertising across English and French stations, from $220 million in 2015 to $266 million in 2016 – an increase that can in large part be explained by a boost in ad spend shifting to CBC for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Accordingly, private conventional TV saw a 4.5% decline in advertising revenues from $1.62 billion in 2015 to $1.55 billion in 2016.

On the BDU side, revenues of Canadian cable, IPTV and satellite companies stood at $8.7 billion in 2016, a 2.1% decrease from the previous year, marking the second consecutive year of declining revenues. Cable saw a 5.5% decline in revenues to $4.79 billion, satellite saw a 6.1% drop year over year to $2.15 billion, while IPTV increased 14.8% to $1.8 billion. Cable, IPTV and satellite companies overall garnered 11.1 million subscribers in 2016, a 1.1% decline from 2015. From 2012 to 2016, IPTV companies increased their share of the subscriber market from 8.7% to 22.2% and in 2016 had 2.5 million subscribers. That said, cable and satellite subscriber numbers continue to fall, resulting in an overall revenue decline for the sector.

For the first time, the CRTC is tracking revenues for internet-based video services, including SVODs (Netflix, Crave), TVODs (iTunes, Microsoft Movies and TV), and AVODs (YouTube). Estimated revenues for these services in Canada grew by 17.8% from 2015 to 2016, reaching almost $2 billion in 2016. Of that, SVOD revenues represent over half the total revenues. Netflix is the largest SVOD player in Canada, with their 2016 revenues in Canada estimated at $766 million, or 70.8% of total SVOD revenues, up from an estimated $156 million in 2012.

In Canada, iTunes is the largest TVOD service in terms of revenues, earning more than two thirds of total TVOD revenues in 2016, followed by Microsoft’s service (12.5%) and the PlayStation Network (8.5%).