Advanced Television

EU TV channels and platforms grow despite recession

January 14, 2010

The MAVISE database, created for the DG Communication of the European Commission, shows that despite the economic crisis in 2009, the number of channels and the number of television platforms continues to grow in Europe.

More than 245 European television channels were launched in the course of 2009. The most popular genres of new channels were sport (38 new channels in 2009), followed by children (17 launches in 2009). Among these recent additions are new public channels on the DTT networks such as Ramasjang and DR K from Denmark, but also more than 150 new thematic channels on the cable, satellite and IPTV platforms, and also many local channels.

At the same time approximately 220 channels ceased transmission in 2009. This figure takes into account the demise of over 100 local Spanish channels following the closing down of the Localia network of channels, controlled by the Prisa Group. Hence, around one hundred national channels closed down in 2009.

Twenty four countries now have digital terrestrial television systems up and running while three others are in the process of launching. DTT services have been completely implemented in six European countries where switch-off of analogue terrestrial broadcasting is now complete (Germany, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden). Switch-off has taken place in regions of Austria, Belgium (Flemish Community), the Czech Republic, France, Italy and the UK. Switch-off is due to take place in 2010 in Austria, Malta, Spain and Slovenia.

DTT was launched in 2009 in Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia and will be launched in Bulgaria, Ireland and Romania in 2010. Pay DTT TV services were launched in 2009 in Germany, Latvia and Spain. At the end of 2009 one can estimate that there are more than 730 channels being broadcast over European DTT networks, of these more than 300 are local and regional channels. This compares with approximately 500 in April 2009.

Digital television has also developed on the other platform types, particularly pay-DTT, IPTV and mobile television. There are still over 4000 cable operators in the 29 countries but the overall number of cable operators has dropped slightly, and the sector continues to experience consolidation (for example in Germany, Finland, Hungary and the Czech Republic).

In line with the deployment of DTT throughout Europe, the number of companies distributing pay DTT services has been increasing: the number rose from 14 at the end of 2008 to 20 at the end of 2009.

There has also been a growth in the number of satellite packagers available in Europe, an increase from 51 at the end of 2008 to 60 at the end of 2009. This also indicates high levels of competition particularly in Hungary, Poland and Romania where each country has five different satellite packagers.

The total number of operators of services for mobile networks (both TV services for mobile phones on 3G networks and mobile personal TV over DVB-H) has also increased in the last year despite the fact that DVB-H platforms have only taken off in a couple of European countries

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