By the end of 2010 DTT will be up and running in most European countries. DTT will have been launched in all EU countries except for Romania.
There are now Pay DTT services in 19 European countries (14 EU member states).
The number of channels available on all the DTT platforms now totals more than 1460 (including approximately 700 local channels).
HD channels are available on DTT in eight European countries.
Public channels continue to play a very important role on the Free-to-Air platforms.
The roll-out of DTT has not been without its problems as at the same time Pay DTT has been cancelled or postponed in several countries, and the entire DTT launch delayed in others.
Recent data from the MAVISE TV database, developed for the DG Communication of the European Commission by the European Audiovisual Observatory, shows the current status of the European television market. MAVISE contains data on the EU markets plus the candidates Croatia and Turkey. Regarding the roll-out of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), the following developments have occurred in 2010.
The analogue terrestrial switch-off has now taken place in 12 European countries (Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden). By the end of 2010 (or January 2011) switch-off will also have taken place in Austria, Iceland, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia.
Growth in DTT channels
The total number of channels on DTT networks is now almost 1500. This includes a very large number of local channels even though local/regional channels are only on the DTT platforms in 13 countries. There are very large numbers of local channels in Italy, Spain and Denmark.
The number of national and international channels available to DTT households (total on all packages) has increased to more than 760 (compared to 500 in April 2009). It should be noted that this includes almost 40 channels that are appearing on the DTT networks in more than one country. Pan-European channels such as Euronews, the Discovery channels, the Eurosport channels, CNN, BBC World etc, are available in a wide range of countries. In addition national channels are appearing in other countries on the DTT networks. For example, several FTA Italian channels are on the pay platform in Malta and the FTA Swedish channel TV4 is on the pay platform in Denmark. Of the 760 channels (in all the packages) 345 are on FTA platforms and 415 are on pay DTT platforms.
Pay DTT services
Pay DTT services are available in 14 EU countries, Germany (limited), the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and also in various non-EU European countries such as Iceland, Albania, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Switzerland.
The level of success of Pay-DTT varies widely but the business model has proved more difficult to launch in some smaller countries. Pay DTT has been cancelled or postponed in several countries, including Cyprus, Portugal and Ireland. The DTT roll-out has also been delayed in Romania due to the cancellation of the DTT tenders. On the other hand, several smaller countries have had pay DTT services launched before the free service is launched, for example Albania, Estonia, Malta.
HD channels are available on DTT platforms in France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Norway, Hungary, Estonia, and Lithuania. HD services are due to be launched in Sweden and Finland (end 2010 and early 2011).
Public and private
The public channels continue to play an important role on the FTA platforms (more than one third of these are public channels) but logically less so on the pay platforms (less than 10% are public).
Genre of TV channels
There is a strong distinction between the variety of genres on pay and FTA DTT platforms. This is also logical as the FTA platforms have a stronger presence of the national generalist channels, while the Pay platforms have a much higher number of for example film and sports channels.
MAVISE (http://mav//ise.obs//.coe//.int) is a unique free online database, developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission. It provides a full overview of all EU television markets plus Croatia and Turkey. MAVISE contains detailed information on over 7,000 TV channels, 5,000 TV companies, as well as the line-ups of more than 300 DTT, cable, satellite, IPTV or DVB-H packagers.
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