Europe’s free-to-air channels are fine tuning their digital channels to sustain audience shares in the digital environment.

Enders Analysis says broadcasters are facing a weak advertising recovery, a decline in TV set viewing by younger age groups and increased competition from pay-TV and international operators. The solution has been to widen the distribution of HD and catch-up services. Enders’ advice is to focus on strengthening the quality gap between the TV set experience and online entertainment.

ITV has shown the greatest increase in profitability, benefitting from its global production strategy. Its launched ITV Encore as a mini-pay channel available only on the Sky platform.

RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 have a modest upside from carriage fees for HD channels from inititives such as HD+, but production and pay-TV initiatives have yet to pay off.

Mediaset in Italy should benefit from the ad market stabilising, but says Enders, risks large pay-TV losses.