Quebeckers have subscribed to more streaming services since the start of the pandemic, according to the Digital portrait of Quebec households from the Academy of Digital Transformation (ATN). This could have a negative impact on the consumption of Quebec content if the trend were to continue after the health crisis.
The survey reveals that 63% of respondents increased their screen time in 2020 compared to the previous year. Despite everything, the number of subscriptions to a television service continues to decline.
Some 72% of households subscribe to cable, 5% less than last year. These figures do not surprise the professor emeritus in the communication department of the University of Montreal, André H. Caron.
“This is a trend that we have noticed for several years and which has been initiated by 18-34 year olds, who see the internet as an all-in-one, he explains. The cable as we know it today will have to adapt. ”
Streaming series or film services are exploding in popularity among Quebecers. Some 70% paid for at least one subscription last year, 13% more than in 2019.
Netflix is the most used with an adoption rate of 52%, far ahead of Amazon Prime Video at 19%. These services offer more flexibility to users. “They don’t have to pay for a package of channels that includes more than one that they don’t need,” he continues.
Quebec’s paid online platforms have not benefited as much from the increase in adoption caused by the pandemic. The Club illico subscription rate remains stable at 18%, while the ICI Tou.tv paid plan has increased by five points to 9%.
U.S. streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus all rose more than 10% last year. This acceleration of their adoption would be worrying for the future of content created in La Belle Province.
“It’s a real danger, because they just need to line up a few large-scale series – which broadcasters here cannot afford – and they (the American services) risk winning the loyalty of the Quebec audience,” says the professor. in communication. We would then have a significant shift in the consumption of content abroad. ”
He fears that this transition is already well underway. “All the elements are in place for something to happen,” he says.
It is, however, too early to say that the trends seen in the report will continue once the pandemic is over. The fact that people were limited in their activities could skew the data.
“In research, we notice a new factor with the pandemic, that of immobility,” explains Mr. Caron. People did what they could to get around, but virtually. ”
He believes that a decrease in screen time is to be expected. “There will probably be a drop in the use of screens and then a stabilization,” he continues. There is a part of what people are doing now that will stay, but another that will get back to normal. ”
The impact of the pandemic on digital consumption will therefore be better understood in the coming years.
The Digital Portrait of Quebec Households survey is based on data collected between October 7 and 31, 2020 from 1,600 Quebec adults aged 18 and over reached by internet and by phone.
The maximum margin of error is plus or minus 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.