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Pay-TV channels, mainly those distributed via cable, have continued to gain in popularity in Portugal, hitting a 42 per cent audience share in 2015, according to a study by the Association of Independent Television Producers (APIT).
The growth has been at the expense of the country’s three free-to-air broadcasters (RTP, SIC and TVI) that still capture the majority of the TV audience in Portugal (56 per cent share).
Fibre has been the main technology that has contributed to the growth of the pay-TV subscriber base (3.5 million at the end of 2015), registering a 29.5 per cent growth rate in 2015.
Advertising investments have followed the same trend. During the period 2005-2015, advertising on the FTA broadcasters dropped by 33.6 per cent, while the bulk of advertising money was channelled to cable TV channels (+35.7 per cent).
The study points out that the TV market in Portugal experienced dramatic changes in recent years, as a result of the failure of the transition to DTT, coupled with the “strong dynamics of the telecommunications operators”, resulting in an exponential growth of pay-TV.
Data from media regulator ERC indicates that 9.7 per cent of internet users in 2015 watched TV programmes on smartphones or tablets. In response to this trend, the main players on the Portuguese market have added applications that allow the viewing of TV programmes on mobile devices, such as NOS (Nplay), TVI (TVI Player) and RTP (RTP Play).
One of the recommendations of the APIT report is that Portugal should consider making mandatory that foreign pay-TV channels and VoD providers open a company or branch in Portugal, as well as comply with the same content production requirements that are valid for Portuguese general entertainment or thematic TV channels.
According to Portugal’s Television Law, national TV channels must devote at least 50 per cent of their broadcast time (excluding ads, teleshopping and teletext services), to programs in the Portuguese language. Also, they must allocate at least 20 per cent of transmission time to programmes originally produced in Portuguese.