From David Del Valle in Madrid
The rapid take-up of DTT in Spain is boosting the sale of DTT boxes with plans to reach 9 million DTT devices by the end of the year, according to Andres Tejero, CEO of Veo TV. The latest report from the Pro DTT Association Impulsa TDT has revealed that until September, 6.5 million DTT tuners had been sold, with 331,246 DTT equipments acquired in the last month. Nearly half of them, 45.87 per cent were iDTV sets, with external DTT boxes representing 38.76 per cent.
Spanish DTT currently has an average audience share of around 8 per cent, with a coverage of more than 85 per cent of the population. Despite these positive results, Tejero stated that a specific frequency plan, with digital switch-over pilots and the local analogue switch-off (initially scheduled for 2006, then postponed to 2008 and now with no final deadline) were all needed as soon as possible to avoid a digital migration failure. “If nobody remedies it, the (analogue) switch-off will not take place”, he warned.
He recommended the Government to follow the Swedish example following its recent successful analogue switch-off and urged the Administration to take a pro-active role in the market to boost the development of DTT. Tejero asked the Government to lift the obligation by private TV channels of reaching a 96 per cent coverage or at least to finance the latest 6 per cent of coverage, as “going from 90 to 96 per cent of coverage will mean to double the costs from E14 million to E26 million”. He explained that the cost to operate a DTT channel ranges between E5 to E12.5 million, with advertising revenues only reaching around E15 million.