Cable lags in Austrian digitalisation
Digital television in Austria is making headway via satellite and terrestrially, but continues to show low acceptance amongst cable households, according to a digitalisation report presented to the Parliament.
The report predicts that in two years’ time virtually no more households will receive analogue television terrestrially or via satellite. By mid-2008 47% of the 3.4 million TV homes were already receiving digital television – 17% more than at the end of 2006. The remaining 53% still relied on analogue reception.
The main increase was in the number of digital-satellite households. This was followed closely by digital-terrestrial television (DTT). By June 30 2008, at total of 535,000 DTT receivers had been sold. DTT coverage, which stood at 90% of households in mid 2008, should rise to 95% by the time the last analogue transmitters are switched off in early 2011.
Cable remains the problem child with 39% of TV households being analogue cable households while only 3% have opted for digital cable television. Media authorities KommAustria and RTR say this is due to the attractive offer available in analogue and the fact that digital value-added services such as video-on-demand and pay-per-view seem to provide insufficient incentives for viewers to make the switch – either because they don’t know enough about them or because of their additional costs. The media watchdogs see high-definition television as a possible driving force for the digitalisation of cable networks.
Cable operators face increasing competition from IPTV packages distributed by telecommunications companies on their ADSL broadband networks. AonTV, operated by Telekom Austria, was already reaching 50,000 households by mid 2008.
Meanwhile, mobile television signals via DVB-H cover more than 50% of the Austrian population – a leading figure Europe-wide – but the report did not contain data pertaining to what extent the offer was actually used.