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Cable vs Streaming: The shifting trend to streaming and the pros of Netflix

Cost, convenience and choice - it’s what’s driving a record number of Canadians to adopt subscription services, and in the process, cut the cable TV cord and rejig their shopping habits.

According to consulting firm Convergence Research Group LTD., the number of Canadians who use online streaming services like Netflix is on pace to overtake traditional television subscribers for the first time next year.

It’ll be the high point of a trend that started in 2015, when television subscribers in Canada started dropping by roughly two per cent per year. The nail in the coffin for cable TV is that while traditional TV subscribers are falling, households signing up for streaming services has increased by upwards of 24 percent year-over-year.

Below, we break down some of the pros of streaming and why more Canadians are choosing to get rid of cable.

Cable vs Streaming


Arguably one of the most compelling benefits of using subscription services is how they can help your bottom line. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the case of TV.

According to 2016 statistics from the CRTC, the average Canadian’s monthly cable bill hovers between the $60 to $70 mark. For many who’ve upgraded to premium cable plans - which is often the only way to get the shows and channels you really want - that figure can climb to well over $100.

Add to that the fact that signing up for cable usually involves additional installation and equipment rental fees, opaque pricing models, and can lead you down a path of restrictive contracts and pricey bundles, and the cost of cable can trickle up even further.

In contrast, a Netflix subscription will currently run you as little as $9.99 per month to $16.99 on the upper end. Depending on the plan, you can also share your account with a friend and split the bill to cut your payments in half. Even if you plan on juggling two different streaming services at the same time, you’ll still often pay less than what you would a basic cable plan.

No Ads

By some estimates, there are 13.6 minutes of commercials per hour of cable television, which roughly translates to 22% of total airtime. That’s a lot of time spent watching commercials and less on the shows you actually want to see. It’s something you can avoid as a Netflix user, which doesn’t air commercials.

Ask any Netflix subscriber why they made the switch from cable and, odds are, their response would include the lack of commercials.


Unlike cable, with Netflix, you won’t have to waste time surfing channels in hopes of finding something you like. All Netflix users have access to the same titles and can choose what they want to watch, and when, without having to worry about channels or a pre-destined broadcast schedule.

You also won’t have to compromise on your movie and TV show choices, as Netflix gives users access to thousands of titles, many of which are critically-acclaimed programs that are exclusive to the streaming service like television-phenomenon Stranger Things and Oscar-winning film Roma.

Last but not least, you’ll have the choice to cancel Netflix at any time without having to worry about the possible repercussions of breaking a contract or altering a cable and internet bundle.

How to save even more money

Video streaming aside, there are a slew of subscription services out there that can help you save time and money on your recurring expenses - from high-quality razor blades and food deliveries to music streaming, online shopping, and more. And as time goes by, the subscription model is expected to become even more prevalent.

This is where Butter comes in. Butter helps you track your subscriptions to help you stay on top of all the products and services you have. What gets interesting is that it lets you accelerate your savings by offering you 1% back on subscription payments on eligible consumer subscriptions. Better yet, if you use Butter in tandem with one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to foot the bill (or, one of the best cash back cards if you’re not a fan of points programs), you can earn a combined savings of between 2% to 4% back on your subscription spending. Over the course of a year,that can add up to some sizable savings - all on subscription services you’d be paying for anyway!


To learn more about how Butter works, click here. is a website that compares credit cards,mortgage rates, high-interest savings accounts, chequing accounts and insurance with the goal to empower Canadians to search smarter and save money.

Don't let unwanted subscriptions creep up on you.

Keep track of all your subscriptions in one place with the Butter app.
Get it now

Don't let unwanted subscriptions creep up on you.

Keep track of all your subscriptions in one place with the Butter app.
Get it now
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Don't let unwanted subscriptions creep up on you.

Keep track of all your subscriptions in one place with the Butter app.