Published: 10.57 Europe/London, June 8, 2011

The transition to digital broadcasting is gathering momentum in Europe as the 2012 deadline approaches, according to recent data from the MAVISE TV database developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission.

Looking at the EU, Croatia and Turkey, it shows that ASO has so far taken place in 15 countries, with the number set to rise to 20 by the end of the year.

The total number of DTT channels now stands at 1,800, or just over 300 more than in October 2010, with many being local services concentrated in Italy, Spain and Denmark.

The number of DTT operators also continues to grow, reflecting both recent DTT launches and the addition of new pay DTT services or regional/local multiplexes.

As of May 2011 there were 82 multiplex operators and 32 DTT packagers, compared to 76 and 28 respectively at the end of 2010.

Pay DTT services are now available in 14 EU countries and there is a strong distinction between pay and FTA DTT platforms, with the latter having a much higher number of niche channels.

In the case of pay DTT platforms in the EU (excluding local), the most popular genres are entertainment/fiction (18%), sport (15%) and documentary (14%), while FTA DTT networks score highest with generalist channels (38%), followed by entertainment/fiction (11%) and cultural/educational (6%).

A total of 65 HD channels are meanwhile available on DTT in 13 EU countries. Of these, 37 are on pay and 28 on FTA platforms.

Furthermore, 3D DTT tests are being carried out in several EU countries and 3D VOD is available in Italy.