Spain's DTT will concentrate audiences

Spain's analogue switch-off on April 3, 2010 will extend channel offering but most audiences and advertising investment will be in a few broadcasters' hands.

Many observers believe there is little space in the market for new conventional channels with quality programming similar to those broadcast so far.

DTT forecasts in terms of profitability are negative. A recent book, ‘DTT, An Impossible Business?’ states: "there's a high likelyhood the new digital broadcasters will lose money in DTT. It's not realistic to hope a big profitability in most broadcaster's cases specially in the case of the ones with only a digital licence".

For a non conventional channel to be profitable, says the book, it needs to address a specific audience target and at the same time to offering inexpensive content. New broadcasters must also reach the necessary coverage to access this target.

The publication highlights the main goal of the main broadcasters already consolidated is "to carry on fighting to have the best possible contents". At the same time they underline the new digital channels such as Antena 3's Nova or TVE's TeleDeporte lack significative audiences but on the other side of the coin this situation allows them to control formats and contents the conventional channels don't offer.

As for the quality of DTT content, the book questions whether quality content is possible on the new channels, arguing that "the incomes per channel are so low that no special quality content is hoped for. Nonetheless there will be more opportunities for innovation but it will likely be the free-to-air private channels able to take advantage of it in terms of profitability by using their new channels for testing those new contents".

As a conclusion the book says the content providers who are able to produce segmented and thematized quality programas at a reasonable cost will have "a great opportunity" in Spain's DTT.