Amazon has announced that Canadians will be able to buy its Echo, with Alexa, the company’s voice-activated digital assistant, as of Dec. 5. Radioplayer Canada and its roster of more than 500 Canadian radio stations is featured prominently as a streaming partner, joining Prime Music and Spotify. Amazon Echo will also launch with content from media outlets such as CTV, CBC, Global News, and Corus radio, among others. Users can call on Alexa to answer questions, ask for the weather forecast, and enable newscasts or the latest headlines. Corus will offer livestream “skills” from 30 FM stations, with its eight News Talk stations offering both live streams and flash briefings.
Amazon has launched Amazon Marketing Services for Canada, making its suite of pay-per-click performance advertising products available to brands via a self-service portal. Amazon.ca brands can also now create their own Amazon Store – a free, customizable, multipage shopping experience that showcases the brand and a curated product selection.
The CRTC’s 2017 Communications Monitoring Report on Canadians’ wireless and internet use shows data usage continues to climb. In 2016, there were three million more mobile broadband subscriptions than the previous year, a 13.3 per cent increase. Canadians used an average of 1.2 gigabytes (GB) of data per month on their wireless devices, a 25 per cent increase from 2015. The report also shows many young people are now watching TV on their wireless devices. Forty-one percent of 18-34 year olds use their smartphones to watch TV online, compared to 11 per cent of Canadians aged 50-64 years old. Twenty-two per cent of Canadians are listening to radio online. Read the full report here.
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has released Canada’s Internet Factbook showcasing data about Canadians’ online habits, perceptions and experiences. At 25th place in the world, Canada ranks below nearly all other G7 nations in the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) ICT Development Index. Key findings include that 71 per cent of Canadians now spend at least 3-4 hours on the internet each day; almost three-quarters of Canadian internet users are unlikely to purchase a home in an area that lacks access to high-speed internet; and use of a mobile phone to purchase items online has tripled (from 12 to 36 per cent) since 2014. Read more here.
Videotron is responding to the consumer trend of watching TV and video content on mobile devices by making the mobile version of Club illico available with all new Videotron mobile plan subscriptions. According to Videotron, 20 per cent of Quebec consumers are streaming videos, series or movies on their smartphones. That number goes up to 85 per cent with Francophone smartphone owners aged 18 to 34.
Facebook is trying to leverage its Stories feature, giving users of Facebook Groups and Events the ability to contribute to a private Facebook Story, visible only to other members, that can be moderated by an administrator. The Stories show up on both Event and Group pages, as well as atop a user’s News Feed.