Latest NewsEconomic stress driving ad-supported streaming growth, says Canadian Roku study

Economic stress driving ad-supported streaming growth, says Canadian Roku study

Seventy-five per cent of Canadian internet users are now streaming TV, with the majority watching ad-supported TV, according to Roku’s annual Video on Demand (VOD) Evolution study.

Based on a summer survey of 2,100 Canadians nationally, aged 18-64, who watched TV at least once in the past month, Roku found that ad-supported TV streamers increased exponentially in the last year alone, jumping to 59%, compared to 42% in the previous year. Another 63% of respondents plan to stream ad-supported TV in the year ahead. The study, conducted by Fuse Insights, indicates that rising inflation and cost-of-living expenses are driving the move toward ad-supported options with 24% planning to cancel or downgrade their cable/satellite package in the next 12 months, up six per cent from 2022.

Image Credit: Alamy

“For Canadian TV streamers, ad-supported TV offers the benefits of a lighter ad load compared to broadcast TV, with the added benefit of being cost-effective, which is what makes it so appealing – especially in today’s economic climate,” said Christina Summers, head of advertising in Canada, Roku. “For advertisers and publishers alike, the uptick in interest in ad-supported TV streaming, along with TV streaming generally, enables greater reach beyond traditional TV broadcasting, stronger targeting, measurement, interactivity, and flexibility with creative.”

Time spent on AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand) and BVOD (Broadcaster Video On Demand) is up 32% year-over-year, with TV streamers who watch ad-supported programming. The study also found TV streamers are significantly more responsive to ads than non-streamers (70% vs. 54%), with respondents saying they have taken measurable actions after viewing an ad, including visiting a brand’s website, online store, or app after seeing an ad (38%); searching online for more information about the product/brand while continuing to watch TV (36%); and placing items in an online/app shopping basket to buy later (25%).

Content watching trends

On average, TV streamers are watching just under 22 hours a week of TV content, with 95% ranking dramas as their top genre choice. Comedy is the least popular with 87% streaming that genre. When it comes to live news, 48% of Canadian TV streamers tune in, followed by family entertainment series like How I Met Your Mother and Friends (50%) and live sports and events (45%).

When it comes to discovering content, viewers cited the “just released” section (42%);  “top trending” or most popular titles sections (34%); and “free to watch” shows and movies (31%). Outside of streaming services, the top three discovery methods were word of mouth/personal recommendations (50%); “coming soon” notifications (36%); and ads seen on TV promoting shows or movies (31%).

On average, Canadian TV streamers have used/subscribed to 3.5 paid or free streaming services in their household in 2023, which is anticipated to increase to 3.8 by 2024.

Download the full report here.

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Connie Thiessen
Connie Thiessen
Connie has worked coast-to-coast as a reporter, editor, anchor and host at CKNW and News 1130 in Vancouver, News 95.7 and CBC in Halifax, and CFCW Edmonton, among other stations. With a passion for music, film and community service, she led News 95.7 to a 2013 Atlantic Journalism Award and regional RTDNA award for Best Radio Newscast. More recently, she was nominated for Music Journalist of the Year at Canadian Music Week 2019. To report a typo or error please email -

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