Annual Cable Television Survey

Detailed information for 2003





Record number:


This survey collects financial and operating data for statistical measurement and analysis of the broadcast distribution undertakings sector (cable and wireless).

Data release - September 14, 2004


Information collected by the Annual Cable Television Survey serves the following broad objectives: to measure the financial position and performance of broadcast distribution undertakings (cable and wireless) and the economic contribution of this sector to the Canadian economy. The principal outputs of the survey are financial data (Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash Flow Statement) at the enterprise level (licensee) and revenue, expense and operating statistics at the establishment level (individual system). The level of detail collected varies with the size (revenues) of the undertaking. Data from this survey are used by:

a) Statistics Canada to construct industry accounts;
b) the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to monitor the industry's performance and adherence to regulations;
c) industry associations, provincial governments, Canadian Heritage and industry analysts to conduct economic studies and to analyse and develop policy;
d) industry consultants and other interested parties to prepare reports submitted to bodies such as the CRTC and the Copyright Board.

In order to avoid duplication of effort and undue response burden, the survey is conducted by Statistics Canada in cooperation with the CRTC. It is collected under the authority of both the Statistics Act and the Broadcasting Act.

Statistical activity

The broadcasting statistics program is a component of a broader program on science and technology indicators.

The purpose of the broader program is to develop indicators that measure and explain the social and economic impacts of S&T activity based on a framework that ties them together in a coherent picture.

The attached document gives a short description of the main components of the broader program as well as a link to survey documentation for the last reference period for which data were released.

Reference period: Broadcasting fiscal year (September 1st to August 31st)

Collection period: November 1 to March 31


  • Business, consumer and property services
  • Business performance and ownership
  • Culture and leisure
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Information and communications technology
  • Information and culture
  • Telecommunication industries
  • Television and radio industries
  • Television viewing and radio listening

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The survey targets all organizations licensed by the Canadian Radio Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to operate broadcast distribution undertakings. In terms of industrial classification, this survey's target population is covered by the following North American Classification System (NAICS 2002) category: Cable and Other Program Distribution (51751).

Instrument design

The annual survey of the cable industry essentially collects financial information from and for organizations licensed to operate broadcasting distribution undertakings. It was originally designed in collaboration with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Department of Canadian Heritage. This partnership ensured that the needs of the policy maker and the regulator were met and that respondents could supply the requested information without undue response burden. To the extent possible, generally accepted accounting standards and standards generally adhered to by the industry formed the basis of the survey content.

An annual review of the survey content is done with the same partners.


This survey is a census.

This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

The survey is a mail-out / mail back survey collected on an annual basis. The survey questionnaires are mailed to all enterprises of the universe in the first half of October of each year. Respondents are also given the choice of receiving an electronic version of the forms.

The respondent has until November 30th to complete and return the questionnaire. A telephone contact is made with non-reporting enterprises in December and January to discuss reporting delinquency and possible special arrangements.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s).

Error detection

In order to identify, minimize and correct errors, the data are subjected to the following quality control measures:

· The return is first the object of a manual audit to ensure that its coverage is as anticipated and that a complete response has been provided. Follow-up is initiated at this stage if deemed necessary.
· The data is then captured and verification is made of the accuracy of this process.
· The data is then subjected to computerized edits designed to ensure accuracy and internal consistency.
· For larger enterprises, the reported data is compared to audited financial information and major discrepancies are investigated.
· For larger enterprises, a year over year comparison is made to identify any radical or unexplained changes in output or input structures. Follow-up is initiated if deemed necessary.
· A number of analytical ratios looking at output and input structures are computed to identify outliers.

All unusual occurrences are queried for confirmation and clarified with the respondents concerned. However, most financial data collected are derived from audited financial statements resulting in minimal errors and inconsistencies.


One of 3 methods is used to impute for missing, invalid or inconsistent response:

- Data submitted by a respondent (with or without adjustments) for a previous period are used to impute data for the current period.
- Imputation for partial or total non-response by a respondent are made on the basis of a full response by a respondent with similar characteristics.
- Total industry or sub-industry weights or averages are used to impute missing variables.


This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Data for a specific industry or variable may be suppressed (along with that of a second industry or variable) if the number of enterprises in the population is too low.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Revisions are usually the result of late receipt of information, of re-filing by respondents of previously submitted data, or of detection of errors after publication of data. They typically do not have a material impact on the preliminary results. Past revisions generally accounted for less than 1% of the value for key variables such as total revenues, salaries and wages and number of employees.

Data accuracy

The quality of statistical information is in large part a function of the degree to which the information correctly describes the phenomena it was designed to measure. This is not easily measured but the cable statistics program has a number of characteristics that have a positive influence on the quality of estimates.

- Organizations must be licensed to operate in this industry, and completing the survey is a condition of license.
- The survey is a census of all organizations licensed to operate in this industry.
- The target population is identified from the CRTC licensing database.
- The survey content is largely based on generally accepted accounting principles and on standards generally recognized in the industry.
- The industry and their representatives regularly use the information from this survey to assess the impact of regulations and policy. It is therefore in their interest to provide data that are as accurate as possible.

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