Canada Time Spent with Media 2021

The Pandemic Drove Media Consumption to New Heights

Executive Summary

More time spent at home led to more time spent with media last year. This boost in media time won’t be temporary: We expect the incremental media consumption to persist through the end of our forecast in 2023, especially when it comes to digital formats.

How has the pandemic affected consumers’ time spent with media?

We expect that average total media time among adults in Canada will be 10 hours, 12 minutes (10:12) daily this year. That’s down 19 minutes from the last year’s peak, but still up 16 minutes from 2019. Before the pandemic, we had forecast that total media time had peaked and would stop growing.

Which formats gained the most time, and which lost time to other formats?

Digital video time grew the fastest in 2020, by 13.7%, as adults picked up new streaming habits. Time spent with print dropped by 14.5% last year and will gain back just 1 minute this year.

How does digital video compare with TV in time spent?

TV time will be almost double digital video time this year, as TV still draws a sizable audience across age groups. Digital video’s share of time with long-form entertainment will continue to climb, though, as consumers’ choice of streaming content continues to expand.

How does digital audio compare with radio in time spent?

In 2021, digital audio will exceed radio in time spent for the first time. As with digital video, the number of digital audio services in Canada has risen rapidly. Likewise, podcast listenership is growing fast and boosting digital audio time.

What impact does social media have on the media mix?

For the first time, we have a forecast for time spent with social networks in Canada. We estimate that adults will average 46 minutes daily with the medium this year. That’s up slightly from 2020, when social media time jumped by 12.2% as people turned to such platforms more during the pandemic.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report details our latest forecast for time spent with media in Canada, including estimates for digital formats like mobile, audio, and social media. We also overview traditional formats including TV, radio, and print.

KEY STAT: Digital media will account for 52.6% of all media time in 2021, with adults in Canada spending an average of 5:22 with the medium daily.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Total Media Time Spent: Reaching New Levels
  3. TV vs. Digital Video: A Narrowing Gap
  1. Radio vs. Digital Audio: A Fairly Even Split
  2. Social Networks: Another Daily Fixture of Time Spent
  3. Key Takeaways
  1. Read Next
  2. Sources
  3. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

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Paul Briggs


Angela Kim
Senior Researcher
Audrey Schomer
Senior Analyst
Shelleen Shum
Senior Director, Forecasting
Debra Aho Williamson
Principal Analyst

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