Annual Cable Television Survey (ACTS)

Detailed information for 2012





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 - February 10, 2014


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 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: The survey is launched in the first half of October of each year.


  • Business performance and ownership
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Information and communications technology
  • Telecommunication industries
  • Television and radio industries

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 2007) category: Cable and Other Program Distribution (517112).

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 with a cross-sectional design.

Data are collected for all units of the target population, therefore, no sampling is done.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents, extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Large enterprises are asked for detailed information through an on-line data collection system managed by the CRTC.

The survey is launched in the first half of October of each year.

The respondent has until November 30th to submit the data through the online collection system. A telephone contact is made with non-reporting enterprises in December and January to discuss reporting delinquency and possible special arrangements.

Smaller enterprises not collected with the on-line data collection system are estimated using internal ratios or industry trend ratios, public annual reports, previous returns and administrative files.

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 data are first the object of an 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 are then subjected to computerized edits designed to ensure accuracy and internal consistency.
- For larger enterprises, the reported data are 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.

Quality evaluation

As the last step of the data quality control process, the analyst responsible for the survey undertakes a critical assessment of the main facts portrayed by the aggregated data. The assessment includes a systematic review of historical trends, a coherence check based on analytical ratios, a comparison with other data sources and a confrontation with independent sector analysis. If this process leads to concerns about the quality of survey results, a series of steps to identify and eliminate potential errors in the micro data are repeated. These steps are described in the section "Data editing".

At this stage in the process, the evaluation of quality depends to a large extent on the expertise of the analyst responsible for the survey. The expertise is developed over time in several ways including networking with other analysts in the public and private sectors, participation in conferences and by reading relevant material.

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 for units not exempted by the CRTC.

- The target population is identified in large part 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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