Interesting Speech from C.R.T.C About the Future

menzies_cPeter Menzies, the Vice-Chairman of the C.R.T.C., gave an interesting speech today (23 September) to the annual conference of the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance in Mont-Tremblant, Québec.

The C.R.T.C. will in a few days release the 2013 edition of the Communications Monitoring Report, and Menzies mentioned a few of the statistics from the report to demonstrate just how quickly the world has been changing.

  • 62% of Canadian households subscribe to Internet services featuring download speeds of at least 5 Mbps.
  • Anglophones spent 20.1 hours online per week in 2012, against 18.2 hours in 2011. That’s an increase of more than 10%.
  • Francophones spent 13 hours online per week in 2012 (that’s roughly the same amount as the previous year).
  • 33% of Canadians watched online television programming.
  • 4% report that the only place they watch television programming is online.
  • Typical users watched over 3 hours of Internet television per week (that’s up from 2.8 hours in 2011).
  • 17% of Canadians subscribed to Netflix (up from 10% in 2011).
  • The number of Canadians that own a smartphone jumped from 38% in 2011 to 51% in 2012. That’s a massive increase in the neighbourhood of 34% in one year.
  • The number of Canadians that own a tablet more than doubled — almost tripled, in fact — from 10% in 2011 to 26% in 2012.
  • 6% of Canadians watched television programming on a tablet or smartphone.
  • 20% of Canadians streamed the signal of an AM or FM station over the Internet; 14% streamed audio on a tablet; 13% streamed a personalized Internet music service; and 8% streamed audio on a smartphone.
  • In 2012, Canadians downloaded an average of 28.4 GB and uploaded 5.4 GB per month.

He went on to say, “So we’re looking at a communications environment that is radically different from what it was only ten years ago.”

Later in the speech he made reference to the new border-less world, and how the C.R.T.C. can “no longer define ourselves as gatekeepers in a world in which there may be no gates. We can’t tell Canadians what to watch, nor should we. They are free to enjoy a much wider range of information and entertainment than ever before. And they are.”

He posed the question “How can we (C.R.T.C.) act as an enabler of Canadian expression, rather than as a protector? How can we shift our focus from rules and processes and procedures to actual outcomes? How can we help Canadian creators to take advantage of all the opportunities in the new global environment— one in which the opportunities may exceed the threats? How can we ensure Canadians see their realities, hear voices that are familiar to them and get the information they want and need in the television shows they watch?”

“Our conversation with Canadians will be about the future of television, which is still the medium that Canadians rely on for most of their programming content. But of course we expect that the conversation will go way beyond the familiar box in the living room.”

There appears to be a hint of possible future deregulation, which may allow broacasters to compete on a broader scale. Perhaps in years to come this may include the lifting of the foreign ownership restrictions. You can read Mr. Menzies complete speech here