National TV losing out to DTT and IPTV

From Branislav Pekic in Rome

During 2007, the main European countries have further consolidated the long term trend that sees analogue terrestrial TV channels loosing audience ratings in favour of DTT and especially IPTV.

According to the Milan-based e-Media Institute, in the UK digital TV penetration has surpassed 85 per cent (figures from the end of June 2007, with the five national analogue channels (BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Five) registering a net loss of 3.2 per cent compared to 2006. This trend is confirmed in France, where the national channels have lost 3.7 percentage points of the audience share, dropping from 82.8 per cent in 2006 to 79.1 per cent in 2007.

In Italy and Spain the trend seems to be more contained. The accumulated audience share of the seven Italian national terrestrial TV channels dropped 1.7 percentage points compared to 2006. In Spain, the audience share of the national and “autonomous” channels in 2007 fell by 1.1 percentage points to 86.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, DTT has become the second digital TV platform in Europe, with 25 million households (compared to 37 million satellite homes), while digital cable and IPTV have 13 million and 4 million, respectively. The e-Media institute estimates that the five leading European TV markets could have more than 8 million IPTV subscribers in 2010 (compared to the current 3.5 million).

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