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Digital TV Penetration Growing in Europe
Mar 2, 2005
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Digital television has gained a new lease of life in Europe during the past year, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

The research said that 25.7 percent of Europe's TV households had acquired digital television by the end of 2004, up from 21.1 percent a year earlier. The keys to this success were new services such as DTTV (Digital Terrestrial television) and IPTV (Internet Protocol television), Strategy Analytics reports. The research firm's findings are based on a survey of more than 70 digital television operators across 16 European countries.

According to the research, during 2004, Europe's DTTV operators, such as the UK's FreeView and Germany's free-to-air broadcasters, added 4.4 million subscribers, while providers of IPTV, such as France's Free and Italy's Fastweb, increased their user base by 450,000.

"The arrival of successful DTTV and IPTV services is shaking up the established digital television market," said Martin Olausson, senior analyst. "New business models such as free-to-air and bundled services will add further impetus to market growth."

Satellite is still the leading digital television platform in Europe, reaching 25.0 million households at the end of 2004. The research predicts that satellite's strength will continue with the addition of new services such as HDTV.

Cable showed signs of revival during 2004 as well, adding 1.2 million digital subscribers, the best performance in 3 years. Strategy Analytics predicts strong growth for digital cable, as penetration is still low -- only 16 percent of all cable subscribers currently subscribe to a digital service.

The research firm believes that DTTV will continue to grow rapidly as more countries establish services, reaching 42.2 million households by 2010. By that time, IPTV will have become an established fourth digital platform, with 11.3 million subscribers.

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