Astra reaches 2.3m Italian homes
By Chris Forrester

Italy, by common consent is a Eutelsat-dominated satellite market. But that fact hasn’t stopped arch-rival SES Astra claiming an increased loyalty from many Italian viewers.

Presenting the annual SES Satellite Monitor numbers to Italian journalists, Astra staffers showed that the overall satellite audience in Italy had grown last year by some 400,000 households, and now topped 8.78 million homes (35.6 per cent of the 24.67 million total TV households).

Astra itself, while still being the minor player, saw its reach grow last year by an impressive 8 per cent, to some 2.26 million homes and was now viewed by 25.6 per cent of the available audience.

“The strong growth of satellite in Italy underlines the advantages of satellite when it comes to quality and choice. No other infrastructure is better suited to broadcast High Definition. SES is convinced that High Definition will quickly become the main standard for the transmission of TV content in more and more European countries,” said Pietro Guerrieri, General Manager at SES Italia.

“In Italy, almost 29 million HD ready TV sets sold until December 2011, but the Italian free-to-air HD market substantially lags behind other European markets mainly due to capacity constraints. ASTRA offers immediate growth opportunities for HD in Italy and can complement DTT services and other existing infrastructures”, he added.