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Normally, I have always watched a lot of television, likely more than most people. I also consume a lot of social media, again perhaps more compared to others?

Canadians are turning more and more to internet-based media at the expense of conventional forms of broadcasting, the CRTC said.

Streaming Media Explosion

In an annual report, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said that last year, almost half of Canadians subscribed to some sort of online video service, such as Netflix, Disney+, Apple, Prime Video, CraveTV, and other streaming media services.

Among those between 18 and 34 years old, almost two-thirds subscribe to such a service. Among those 65 and over, barely one in six do.

It is my understanding that subscriptions to these streaming media services have skyrocket during the Coronavirus isolation.

The viral outbreak “has caused so much pain across industries globally,” said Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities. “Yet on the streaming side, the demand for those services is going to increase exponentially over the next three to six months” as consumers around the world remain stuck in place.

Up to a 20 percent increase is likely in the amount of time subscribers spend watching streamed fare, and millions of new customers will hop aboard worldwide as the effects of this virus continues, Ives predicted.

Pay TV channels could benefit as well as more people become shut-ins and reconsider cutting the cord, slowing an accelerating trend, said analyst Jeffrey Wlodarczak of Pivotal Research Group. Broadcast networks facing rating declines also could see a boost in viewership, he said.

IPTV and Satellite Services

Indeed, Canadian cable, IPTV (internet-protocol TV) and satellite television companies still had a total of 11.1 million subscribers last year. That’s a 1.1-per-cent decline from the previous year’s level, but the IPTV portion within that grew by 13.8 per cent during the year, adding more than 300,000 new customers in the past 12 months.

All in all, more than three quarters of Canadian households subscribed to some sort of broadcasting service last year, a penetration rate that has inched lower for several years in a row now.

Audio Content

There’s a similar trend underway in terms of audio content, too, as 22 per cent of Canadians aged 18 years or older streamed radio stations online last year, while more than 55 per cent streamed music videos on internet-based services, including Spotify, Apple Music and others.

Canadian TV Viewership Statistics

While the digital space is growing quickly, Canadians are still spending a lot of time consuming conventional media, too.  Canadians watched on average 26.6 hours per week of traditional television last year, compared to 27.2 hours in 2015. Canadians aged 65 and over watched the most television at 42.8 hours per week.

Thank god I am still just 63! That is a scary number of hours watching TV.

Radio Listeners

On the radio side, Canadians listened to an average of 14.5 hour per week, down from 15.6 hours per week in 2015. Canadians aged 65 and over listened to the most radio at 18 hours per week.

Impact of Coronavirus

Since the start of my home isolation due to the onslaught of the Coronavirus and the resulting COVID-19 disease, my personal media consumption has increased dramatically. Sadly, no new content is being produced so we are watching older content from the broadcaster’s libraries.

What has struct me rather profoundly is that I have seen it all already. There is nothing new to watch. Just repeats. A total boredom festival due to the lack of unseen content.

A New Hope

However, last night I did something different, I switched my large screen TV to view internet-based ‘YouTube’ clips and spent two hours wasting seconds, minutes, and hours until bedtime by watching 2-3 minute long clips from the television series, Kung Fu.

This was a 63 episode series that originally ran from 1972 to 1975 staring David Carradine, Keye Luke, Philip Ah, and Radames Pera. I even watched a short 20 minute documentary on how the show producer, Ed Spielman, conceived and created the show – martial arts meet the old west – yes, it was designed as a cowboy show, similar to the way Star Trek was conceive – cowboys in space.

Then, I burned away another hour watching my beloved, Zatoichi, a Japanese dialogue TV series that ran in Japan from 1974 to 1979 set during the late Edo period (1830s and 1840s). When I lived in Tokyo during some of those years, I was a loyal and steadfast fan of the Ronin character, a blind wondering masseur and gambler, who also happens to be a skilled samurai blade-master with his sword cleverly hidden within his cane. Every week Ichi came to the rescue of those downtrodden citizens in need of blind fury (a spin-off American movie based upon this original Japanese series) to rid them of oppression and persecution. These tiny snippets of flashing sword fights were similarly spoon-feed to me in short 2-3 minutes clips from YouTube.

Tonight I will try to find more similar content. I shall look for Lone Wolf and Little Cub, another Japanese television series. This is the continuing story of Ogami Ittō, a formidable warrior and a master of the suio-ryu swordsmanship, who wonders the land with a child as a Ronin (a samurai without a master to serve).

When Lone Wolf and Cub was first released as a graphic novel in Japan in 1970, it became wildly popular (some 8 million copies were sold in Japan) for its powerful, epic samurai story and its stark and gruesome depiction of violence during Tokugawa era of Japan.

Lone Wolf and Cub is one of the most highly regarded manga (a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, typically aimed at adults as well as children) due to its epic scope, detailed historical accuracy, masterful artwork, and nostalgic recollection of the ‘bushido’ (the code of honor and morals developed by the Japanese samurai) ethos – think of Worf, the Klingon character of Star Trek fame. The story spans 28 volumes of manga, with over 300 pages each (totaling over 8,700 pages in all). Many of the panels of the series are depictions of nature, historical locations in Japan, and traditional activities.

Two full-fledged television series based on the manga have been broadcast to date. Also, seven feature films have been made of the travels of the father and son.

The Disney+ Star Wars web series, The Mandalorian, has a plotline that is heavily influenced by Lone Wolf and Cub, with the titular character caring over a child of the same race as Yoda while being besieged by bounty hunters.

I am grateful to have rediscovered these old TV series to escape the boredom of the COVID-19 global crisis. There is only so much I Love Lucy and Will and Grace, which I firmly believe to be based upon the same story-lines, that a person can take.

————————–MJM ————————–

About the Author:

Michael Martin has more than 35 years of experience in systems design for applications that use broadband networks, optical fibre, wireless, and digital communications technologies.

He is a business and technology consultant. A recent contract was with Wirepas from Tampere, Finland as the Director of Business Development. Over the past 15 years with IBM, he has worked in the GBS Global Center of Competency for Energy and Utilities and the GTS Global Center of Excellence for Energy and Utilities. He is a founding partner and President of MICAN Communications and before that was President of Comlink Systems Limited and Ensat Broadcast Services, Inc., both divisions of Cygnal Technologies Corporation (CYN: TSX).

Martin currently serves on the Board of Directors for TeraGo Inc (TGO: TSX) and previously served on the Board of Directors for Avante Logixx Inc. (XX: TSX.V). 

He has served as a Member, SCC ISO-IEC JTC 1/SC-41 – Internet of Things and related technologies, ISO – International Organization for Standardization, and as a member of the NIST SP 500-325 Fog Computing Conceptual Model, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

He served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) [now OntarioTech University] and on the Board of Advisers of five different Colleges in Ontario.  For 16 years he served on the Board of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), Toronto Section. 

He holds three master’s degrees, in business (MBA), communication (MA), and education (MEd). As well, he has three undergraduate diplomas and five certifications in business, computer programming, internetworking, project management, media, photography, and communication technology. He has earned 15 badges in next generation MOOC continuous education in IoT, Cloud, AI and Cognitive systems, Blockchain, Agile, Big Data, Design Thinking, Security, and more.