Satellite operator Eutelsat has reached the symbolic landmark of 1,000 High Definition channels with the launch at Eutelsat’s HOTBIRD neighbourhood of CGTN HD, the news and current affairs channel of China’s CCTV media organisation, marking its first foray into HDTV in Europe. The 240 HD channels launched in 2016 equal the total number launched during the previous two years.
The upwards curve of HD take-up was particularly strong at Eutelsat’s flagship HOTBIRD position where HD channels increased by 25 per cent to 250, now accounting for almost one in four channels in the HOTBIRD line-up. This dynamic is driven by three key trends:
With almost 150 HD channels (up 40 per cent in one year), of which 100 are exclusive, the 7/8° West position hosted by Eutelsat and Nilesat satellites leads the transition to HD in the Middle East and North Africa. Free-to-air channels in HD now outnumber pay, with strong brands launched exclusively at this neighbourhood including five channels launched by Kuwait TV and Echourouk News HD, the 24/7 Algerian news channel.
Eutelsat satellites at 36° East that serve Russian and African markets clocked 14 additional HD channels over the last 12 months, rising to 114 HD channels. Russia’s leading NTV+ and Tricolor platforms each broadcast around 40 channels, to which can be added 32 HD channels broadcast to homes in Siberia from 56° East. In Africa, MultiChoice Africa and Zap are in the vanguard of HD, broadcasting 16 and 17 channels respectively and underscoring the trend towards higher resolution in Africa’s TV market.
“2016 marked a tipping point for High Definition TV across our portfolio of video neighbourhoods, culminating in a new landmark of 1,000 channels, many of which are exclusive to Eutelsat,” noted Michel Azibert, Commercial and Development Director at Eutelsat. “We are fully equipped to accommodate this accelerating pace and to work closely with broadcasters as they transition to an enhanced viewing experience,” he added.