Astra says Euro-digital TV is hot, hot, hot

SES Astra, in its annual viewing survey, says it has significantly increased its reach in Europe particularly in France, Ukraine and the UK, and is now broadcasting to 122m analogue and digital TV homes across Europe.
The significant increase in reach was especially driven by the increase of Astra’s digital DTH satellite penetration across Europe. The satellite operator gained an extra 6.1m digital satellite households in 2008, reaching in total 47.2m digital satellite homes (74% of all digital satellite homes).

Astra claims Europe’s Number 1 position in the direct satellite reception sector (Direct-to-Home, DTH), and is also doing well in terms of HDTV, now featuring nearly 70 HD channels on its satellites and reaching an estimated 1.9m HD viewers across Europe (but also see Screen Digest’s somewhat higher estimates elsewhere in this issue).

Today, 50% or 122m TV viewers of the 243m analogue and digital TV homes in Europe receive programs digitally. Overall, satellite – including Europe’s other operators – has again proven to be the strongest driver of digitalization, providing a quarter of all TV households or 52% of all digital households with digital TV signals. The digitalization rate of satellite, as an infrastructure, is three times higher (89%) than that of cable networks (27%).

Astra’s Satellite Monitor, conducted annually in 35 European and North African countries, is based on more than 65,000 face-to-face and telephone interviews. The methodology and the results are controlled by independent institutes and accepted by regulatory bodies as objective market measurement.

“The new study shows that SES Astra is able to gain significantly in a rapidly changing and very competitive environment,” said Alexander Oudendijk, CCO at SES Astra. “We are benefiting from strong dynamics in several growth markets and sectors across Europe and North Africa. Our success encourages us to continue our strategy to act as a neutral service partner for broadcasters, not investing in content and programmes but in high-end technology that will take the development of TV to the next generation.”

Satellite Monitor figures for year-end 2008 in Europe and North Africa at a glance:

• Total of 243m analogue and digital TV homes in Europe
• Astra group fleet reaches 122m analogue and digital TV households in Europe and North Africa (53.4m DTH, 68.8m via cable headends)
• 50% or 122 million TV viewers receive programs digitally (includes all reception modes: satellite, cable, terrestrial, IPTV)
• Satellite reaches 63.9m digital homes (52% of the digital market), cable reaches 19.7m digital homes (16%), terrestrial reaches 31.7m digital homes (26%), TV over DSL reaches 6.8 homes (6%).
• Astra group reaches 47.2m digital satellite homes (74% of all digital satellite homes)
• Astra group adds 6.1m digital satellite homes
• Astra group features nearly 70 HD channels and reaches 1.9m HD viewers
• Digitalization rate of DTH three times higher (89%) than that of cable networks (27%)