Media Use Study: Canadians Moving Quickly to Net

February 26, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Magazines | Media & Entertainment | Newspapers | Radio | Television | Youth & Gen X

The internet is now the third most popular media type among Canadians, falling just behind TV and radio in terms of total weekly time spent by adults, according to a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB).


The Canadian Media Usage Trends Study (CMUST), which looks annually at overall media trends for both French- and English-speaking Canadians, also found that the internet is used slightly more by English-speakers, has a higher reach than radio among younger demographics, and provides a “mirror image” of the age profile of other major media.

Key research findings about the internet in Canada are summarized below.

Internet is Third Among Media

  • The internet now stands third – just behind TV and radio – in terms of total weekly time spent by all adults with all media.
  • In English Canada, the internet has experienced growth in terms of share of time spent with media between 2001 (14%) and 2007 (23%). In this same time, French Canada’s growth in share of time has increased from 11% to 18%.
  • Internet annual growth rates of time spent are in the mid single digits.


  • The internet is the number one medium in terms of percent share of weekly time spent for both 18-24 (40%) and 25-34 (33%) year-olds in English Canada. In French Canada, the it is also the number-one medium in terms of time spent for 18-24 year-olds, and is fast approaching radio and TV time spent levels among 25-34 year olds.

Internet Reaches More People than Print

  • The Internet now reaches more adults each week than either Magazines or Newspapers.
  • Among 18-24 and 25-34 year-olds, the Internet has a higher reach than radio.
  • The Internet is neck-and-neck with TV for weekly reach among18-24 year-olds.

Canadians Carry Media Habits as they Age

  • The Internet provides marketers with a “mirror image” of the age profile other major media.
  • This is particularly true when comparing the Internet with TV. Therefore, shifting a portion of the advertising budget from TV to internet will help balance media weight across all age groups, IAB said.

The research also finds that while 18-24 year-olds may not be the target market for a whole host of advertisers today, the study demonstrates that Canadians carry their media habits with them as they age. Because the high levels of internet usage exhibited by 18-24 and 25-34 year-olds today will become high levels of usage for the 35-54 year-old age group eight years from now, advertisers whose target market is in that range, have only a short time to learn how to use online media channels such as video and socialmMedia to drive results for their brands.

The IAB report “boils down literally thousands of media facts and figures into the simple story of Canadians’ amazing and continued migration towards Online media,” said Rob Young, SVP Planning Services, PHD Canada, which prepared the study for IAB Canada.

About the research: The CMUST study, which is compiled using data from within Canada’s major syndicated research studies (PMB, NADbank, BBM RTS and comScore Media Metrix), compares year-over-year changes in media usage by men and women, various age demographics and English and French Canadian consumers. First commissioned in 2001, CMUST now contains eight years of data.

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