EU has 6,500 channels

The European Audiovisual Observatory used Mipcom to unveil its latest channel count for greater Europe (including Croatia and Turkey) and says that around 6500 channels are currently available to EU audiences. Even though some channels are duplicated (Discovery, for example, is in most markets and each linguistic version is counted as a separate channel).

The study uses its ‘Mavise’ database to monitor numbers and currently identifies 5068 active channels. The Observatory's survey of local television channels is still ongoing: a further estimated 1,500 small local channels are active in European markets and will be progressively added to the database. Of the 5068 channels identified in Mavise, 4663 channels are established in one of the 27 EU countries or in the two candidate countries (Croatia and Turkey), and 405 originate from third countries.

The Observatory's analysis of the breakdown of channels (local channels excluded) according to country of establishment shows that the UK is by far the country with the highest number of channels: 883 compared with 300 in Germany, 284 in Italy, 252 in France and 199 in Spain. The UK's leading position can be explained not only by the large number of thematic channels intended for the national market but also by the considerable number of channels established in the UK and targeting other European countries.

The database also allows a statistical analysis of the range of channels available by genre. Among the channels available in Europe in 2008, generalist channels offering a mixture of different programme genres still represent the largest category: 376 channels of this kind are available. Film channels represent the largest genre of thematic TV channels (333 channels), followed by sports channels (324 channels), entertainment channels (269 channels), and music channels (238 channels). There are also 201 news and business channels, 189 children's channels, 135 documentary channels, 110 lifestyle channels, 103 home-shopping channels, 69 cultural/educational channels, and 26 travel channels on the market.