Spanish channel closure deadline looms
Juan Fernandez Gonzalez
| 05 May 2014
From tomorrow (6 May), nine free-to-air (FTA) channels will be removed from Spain's DTT service.

In April, the networks garnered an average audience share of 6.7%, viewers who will now have to choose other channels from Spain's reduced FTA schedule.

Atresmedia's channels - Nitro, Xplora and laSexta3 - were the most watched among the channels forced to close, and the group has decided to save the one with highest audience, Xplora, which it will keep on-air via the Internet. As well as Atresmedia, Mediaset is looking carefully at the numbers, as a 6.7% share is substantial and could tip the scales for one network or another. Over recent months, Atresmedia has been topping audience figures and therefore has capitalised on advertising investment.

The only certainty is that from tomorrow the country’s FTA offer will be reduced by 37.5% due to the closure of Atresmedia's Xplora, Nitro and laSexta3, Mediaset's La Siete and Nueve, Net TV's AXN and three more telesales signals.

No future plans for DTT have been unveiled, although a new bid will be probably carried out, and the freed up radioelectric space will be used by LTE operators.

The government's decision followed a ruling by Spain's Supreme Tribunal, which said that the last bid for licences in 2010 didn't follow correct procedure or respect all the rules of competition.