European TV defies economic crisis

By Chris Dziadul
January 13, 2010 11.26 UK

The EU 27 and two candidate countries Croatia and Turkey defied the economic crisis in 2009 by launching 245 TV channels and ending the year with 7,200.

On the other hand, they saw the closure of around 220 channels, over 100 of which were local services operated by the Prisa Group in Spain.

The EU27 plus Croatia and Turkey also had more DTT platforms, offering a total of over 730 TV channels, of which 300 were local, in 24 markets at years end, according to data collected by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission.

The data also shows that while there were still over 4,000 cable operators in the 29 countries researched, the number had fallen due to consolidation.

On the other hand, the number of companies distributing pay DTT services rose from 14 to 20 in 2009, while that offering IPTV services went up from 68 to 90. In the latter instance, 13 markets had 4-5 competing operators and one (Sweden) six at yearís end.

The number of DTH platforms meanwhile rose from 51 to 60 in 2009, with the biggest competition being seen in Hungary, Poland and Romania.

The data, which is contained in the latest issue of the European Audiovisual Laboratory Yearbook, also notes that 114 TV channels have been established specifically for mobile services. They are often versions of well-established channels and include Quatro Movil, HBO Mobile, RTL Mobile TV and RTE News.