Having grown up on the Canadian Border -- in Niagara Falls, N.Y. - I have always had a deep love for Canada. I grew up and remain a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Unlike a sizable swath of Americans, I have never ignored Canada. I have been to many of its great cities -- many times -- and keep tabs on what's happening over there. Thanks to my hockey fandom, I watch Canadian television and consume online media out of Canada daily, almost year-round.
For more than a year, I have been hyper-bullish BCE, Inc. (BCE - Get Report) (formerly Bell Canada) and Rogers Communications (RCI - Get Report). Along with other killer big media stocks, these two have returned impressive double digits over the last year.
You would not know this if you disregard Canada as irrelevant. Rogers and Bell, along with, to a certain extent,
(TU - Get Report) benefit from an unprecedented, at least relative to the U.S., regulatory environment. Rogers and Bell own "everything" in Canada -- the Toronto Blue Jays; the Raptors; stakes in the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadians; the networks that air practically every sporting event, including hockey, across the country; arenas such as Air Canada Centre; and every aspect of the telecommunications infrastructure that connects Canadians to one another and the most valuable news, information and entertainment content.
It's a no-brainer for long-term investors to consider BCE and RCI as core positions. While I wouldn't refer to BlackBerry (BBRY - Get Report) as a core position just yet -- it's still quite speculative -- I like it for many of the same reasons that make Rogers and Bell attractive. Consider some numbers from the above-mentioned comScore report.
First, Canadians, compared to the rest of the world, rank first or second in key metrics that measure online visits, engagement and online video viewing. It's really quite remarkable. Second, and maybe more importantly, these numbers have plenty of room to run as smartphone adoption continues to grow.