Local TV stations that broadcast with no legal licence are proliferating in Spain without local, regional or national administrations doing anything to put an end to a practice that jeopardises the whole DTT market.
Several organisations, such as the Audio Visual Council in Andalucia (CAA) or in Catalonia (AAC), have warned that the number of pirate TV channels has significantly grown over the last few years – contrary to the expectations following analogue switch-off in April 2010 and the reshaping of the DTT map, that many believed would end piracy.
Their growth has been parallel to the increase of the number of legal DTT channels. Andalucia, south of Spain, Catalonia, north of Spain and Madrid are the regions with the largest number of pirate DTT channels. According to CAA, in Andalucia, 62 out of 127 TV channels are broadcasting without a legal licence with a great proliferation in Málaga, with 16, Cadiz, with 12, and Granada with 11.
“The illegal occupation of channels has alarmingly grown in 2011 and goes on in 2012”, says CAA. In Catalonia, there are 46 pirate TV channels out of the initially planned 94 legal DTT channels whose frequencies in many cases are taking by pirate TVs. In Madrid, there are around a dozen pirate local DTT channels.
The existence of all these illegal TV stations means an unfair competition to legal DTT channels and may provoke interference in the legal frequencies. The different administrations involved only step in when those pirate TV channels interfere the signal of a nationwide DTT channel.
The majority of the pirate TV channels rely on poor programming to capture viewers and revenues such as fortune-telling programmes or teleshopping content.