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Canada: Digital Time Surpasses Traditional Time

Digital video reaches nearly one-third of total daily viewing time

May 29, 2019 (Toronto, ON) – Media consumption in Canada has reached a tipping point.  This year, for the first time, adults in Canada will spend more daily time with digital content than with traditional media, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on time spent with media.

In 2019, adults in Canada will spend an average of 4 hours, 55 minutes on digital devices, compared with 4 hours, 54 minutes with traditional media, such as TV, radio and print.

Consumers’ time spent with digital media, which includes all online activities, will grow 2.6% this year.  This growth has been in steady decline since 2011, when eMarketer began its forecast.  Conversely, traditional media consumption will drop 2.5% in 2019, the eighth consecutive year of declines.

Video is a major driver of growth in digital consumption.  In fact, video time is directly replacing TV time.  Average daily video time this year will jump by 5 minutes to 1 hour, 32 minutes, reaching nearly one-third of total (digital video and TV) viewing time.  Traditional TV time will drop by 5 minutes to 3 hours, 4 minutes.

“More than any other country in our global forecast, digital video time is greatest in Canada in relation to TV time,” said Paul Briggs, eMarketer’s senior analyst, Canada. “This is due to the immense popularity of Netflix and YouTube among Canadians.”

Mobile devices and rich experiences in apps are also key drivers of increased digital time. Media consumption on mobile now exceeds 3 hours daily, on par with TV.

“Mobile’s ascent is not just a device story, it’s a services story,” Briggs said. “Digital services like social feeds are inherently mobile, and video platforms now deliver highly watchable content on smaller screens like smartphones and tablets.”

Advertising dollars are following eyeballs.  Digital ad spending in Canada surpassed traditional for the first time in 2018. This trend—up from less than one-third of all spending in 2014 (30.8%)—shows no sign of slowing down, due to high levels of brand activation and engagement in digital advertising formats.

The increase in digital advertising has come at the expense of traditional formats, which show slight annual declines.  TV remains a large and stable ad market at CA$3.21 billion ($2.48 billion), or 19.5% of all ad spending. This represents modest growth—0.7% this year—though we expect TV spending to decline slightly in upcoming years, as brands divert brand-building budgets in TV to more targeted and measurable advertising via digital channels like social media.


eMarketer’s forecasts and estimates are based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies. Data is weighted based on methodology and soundness. Each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of available data means the forecasts reflect the latest business developments, technology trends and economic changes.


About eMarketer
Founded in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look for research about marketing in a digital world. eMarketer enables thousands of companies worldwide to understand marketing trends, consumer behavior and get the data needed to succeed in the competitive and fast-changing digital economy. eMarketer’s flagship product, eMarketer PRO, is home to all of eMarketer’s research, including forecasts, analyst reports, aggregated data from 3,000+ sources, interviews with industry leaders, articles, charts and comparative market data. eMarketer’s free daily newsletters span the US, EMEA and APAC and are read by more than 200,000 readers globally. In 2016 eMarketer, Inc. was acquired by European media giant Axel Springer S.E.


For more information, contact:

Douglas Clark
Global Director of Public Relations

Corinne Weir
Public Relations Coordinator


Posted on May 29, 2019.