From Branislav Pekic in Rome
A total of 83 million households, out of a total of 166 million in 20 Western European countries, receive digital TV services, according to the latest survey conducted by the Milan-based e-Media Institute.
At the end of June 2007, the number of families capable of receiving digital TV services represented 48 per cent of the total although Europe is going at different speeds towards digital. On one hand, several countries (The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Finland) have already switched off their analogue terrestrial transmitters, others are going at a slower pace towards digitalisation. Italy is in fact the only European country that is slowing down, now behind France and Spain, and occupies the second-last position in regards to the growth rate of digital households during the first half of 2007 (with 5.2 per cent).
According to the e-Media Institute, satellite with more than 23 million households is still the main pay-TV platform. Between June 2006 and June 2007, the number of subscribers grew by 6.5 per cent in Western Europe. High growth rates have also been registered for IPTV platforms and DTT, totalling 3.8 and 3.5 million users respectively. With 2 million subscribers for pay-TV via ADSL, France remains the main IPTV market in Europe, followed by Spain with nearly 500,000 subscribers.