The Spanish government’s plans to award 5 new DTT licences have been put on hold until probably next September. They were originally slated to be awarded in the first half of the year.
Local and Regional elections may be the main reasons for the delay. The digital migration to be completed on March 31st may be also a reason as 20 per cent of buildings are still to be readjusted to watch DTT on the new frequency bands. Complicating matters is the expected decision by the Supreme Court in May about whether to close down another 8 DTT channels to be added to the already shut down 9 DTT channels closed in May 2014.
The Administration had confirmed the awarding of 5 new DTT licences for the launch of four HD and one SD channel in 2015, through a public tender or by auction in the first half of the year.
Three of the HD channels will be part of a new multiplex whereas the fourth will share frequency with RTVE’s La 1 HD and Teledeporte HD on the multiplex RGE2 – currently operated by RTVE which takes 66 per cent of its capacity. The SD channel will share its frequency with Energy, Boing and Gol TV.
With the awarding, Spain’s new DTT map will be composed of eight DTT multiplexes, of which three will be operated by public broadcasters (two by RTVE and one by regional broadcasters) and five by private TV stations.
Currently, following the closure of 9 DTT channels, Spaniards can watch 15 national DTT channels: Six operated by Mediaset (Telecinco, Cuatro, FDF, Divinity, Energy and Boing); Five by Atresmedia (Antena 3, La Sexta, Neox, Nova and Gol TV); Two from Veo TV rented to Discovery Max and 13 TV; Two from Net TV rented to Disney Channel and Paramount Channel. With the new channels, and if there is no more closing of channels, the DTT offer available will be 20 DTT channels with a national coverage and with new potential media groups breaking into the market.