MTV is carried by more European operators than any other channel, according to a report from Digital TV Research. However, the TV Channel Distribution in Europe report points out that several other channels are close behind. Of the total, 67 channels (28 per cent) transmit in high definition (HD).
Report author Simon Murray said: “No channel appears on every single platform. MTV is the leader as it is distributed by 123 operators – or 81 per cent of the total. However, only 24 channels are distributed by more than half of the 152 operators covered.”
HD channels are growing in importance as operators are eager to give subscribers something new. The UK’s BSkyB leads in HDTV provision, by offering more than 60 HD channels. National Geographic provides the most distributed HD channel. In fact, the top distributed HD channels are all versions of well-known brands.
Companies stress the importance that a stable of channels has for pan-European success. In this report, 13 groups contributed 228 channels – or 96 per cent of the total. Distribution of the channels ranges from pan-European to a single territory.
Not all channels want widespread carriage. Some channels can gain sway with operators by offering exclusive carriage. In several cases, this report reveals how a channel can be on the basic tier in one country and on a higher tier in another country. Furthermore, several channels are tailored for individual countries or regions to fill specific gaps.
Other channels insist on receiving carriage/affiliate fees, which can put off some operators. Apart from the reluctance to pay carriage fees, some operators carry fewer international channels as the domestic market provides a plethora of thematic channels.
Therefore, most operators only carry 50-60 of these channels. The exception to this rule is Sky in the UK and Ireland, which carries more than 90 channels.