Recent data from the MAVISE TV database, developed for the DG Communication of the European Commission by the European Audiovisual Observatory, shows the continued expansion of television channels in the European (EU 27 + Croatia and Turkey) television market. More than 200 new TV channels were launched in 2008. There are now a total of 5587 channels (plus 412 non-European channels) available in the 29 countries.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) has experienced significant developments in the last year. Six of the 29 countries included in the MAVISE database have already ceased analogue terrestrial transmission. France, Italy, Spain and the UK (four markets with large use of terrestrial television) have reached very high levels of DTT penetration in households and two of these have started regional switch-off of the analogue signals. The third group includes smaller countries with established DTT services. The market will see more rapid development this year with the expected launch of new services in Slovenia, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Greece, and Slovakia.
DTT as a free to air platform plays an important role in the provision of universal service television. The presence of the public service channels (and their important role in the development of DTT) can be seen below in the breakdown between public and private channels on the DTT line-ups. On average the capacity used by public service channels on DTT platforms is approximately 25% as compared to 75% for private channels. In comparison, within the entire range of channels available in the 29 countries on all platforms, 7% are public while 93% are private. In Belgium, there are currently only public service offers.