02/23/2012 08:48 EST | Updated 04/24/2012 05:12 EDT

Canada TV Survey Finds Young, Well Educated Ditching Their Sets


TORONTO - Canadians who shun TV tend to be young and well educated, commute by walking or public transit and prefer the arts over sports, according to a report.

That profile — representing just seven per cent of Canadians — is based on surveys conducted for a new Media Technology Monitor report about the transition from analog to digital over-the-air TV broadcasting signals, which took place last September.

The switch meant some Canadians needed to upgrade their TV setup to continue to receive free access to a limited number of channels over the air. But the report found that many felt it wasn't worth the trouble, and the percentage of Canadians accessing the signals fell from seven per cent in the spring of 2011 to five per cent after the transition.

"Some people with the transition just decided they weren't going to (watch TV anymore)," said Mark Allen, director of research and strategic analysis for the CBC, which produces the Media Technology Monitor.

"Faced with having to buy new equipment, they just figured they'd live without it, or watch what they want from the Internet or with their friends."

The digital transition nearly doubled the percentage of so-called "tuned out" Canadians from four per cent in the fall of 2010 to seven per cent a year later.

They reported watching an average of only 2.2 hours of TV a week — often out of their home, the report suggests — versus 10.4 hours for those picking up over-the-air signals and 16.9 hours for TV subscribers.

The tuned out Canadians also watched 1.8 hours of TV content online each week, compared to 0.9 hours among over-the-air watchers and 0.7 hours by TV subscribers.

Tuned out Canadians were more likely to have a university education than the national average, and almost half were in the 18 to 34 age group. They were more interested in politics, business and the arts than the average Canadian, and less interested in watching entertainment, sports or lifestyles programming.

They also spent about 25 per cent more time using the Internet than the average TV viewer.

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