From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Digital terrestrial television has become Europe's second digital TV distribution platform, according to Italian consultancy e-Media Institute.
According to data from June 2007, DTT was received in 25 million households in Western Europe, compared to 37 million satellite TV households. Digital cable and IPTV had respectively 13 million and 4 million. In comparison, the number of DTT households in December 2005 totalled slightly less than 14 million.
In Italy, figures from the end of September 2007 indicate that the percentage of DTT households stood at 17 per cent. According to the e-Media Institute, this figure is lower than originally forecast, due to the strong slowdown in growth registered over the past two years. The expectation is that Italian DTT penetration could top 50 per cent by 2010.
The study also indicates that, in three years time, all the main European countries will register a digital TV penetration close to or higher than 90 per cent. The only exception being Germany, due to a strong analogue multichannel environment dominated by cable. According to the e-Media Institute, Italian digital penetration would arrive to 87 per cent, thanks to the expected expansion of DTT.
In the top five countries in Europe (France, Germany, UK, Italy and Spain), IPTV and DTT will be the platforms with the highest growth between 2006 and 2010, registering growth rates of 40 per cent and 27 per cent respectively.