2010 a milestone year for DTT in Europe

Monday, October 11th, 2010

  • This year a further eight European countries will complete the transition from analogue to digital terrestrial transmissions (6 EU member states).
  • By the end of 2010 DTT will be up and running in most European countries. DTT will have been launched in all EU countries except for Romania.
  • There are now Pay DTT services in 19 European countries (14 EU member states).
  • The number of channels available on all the DTT platforms now totals more than 1460 (including approximately 700 local channels).
  • HD channels are available on DTT in eight European countries.
  • Public channels continue to play a very important role on the Free-to-Air platforms.
  • The roll-out of DTT has not been without its problems as at the same time Pay DTT has been cancelled or postponed in several countries, and the entire DTT launch delayed in others.

Recent data from the MAVISE TV database, developed for the DG Communication of the European Commission by the European Audiovisual Observatory, shows the current status of the European television market. MAVISE contains data on the EU markets plus the candidates Croatia and Turkey. Regarding the roll-out of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), the following developments have occurred in 2010.


The analogue terrestrial switch-off has now taken place in 12 European countries (Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden). By the end of 2010 (or January 2011) switch-off will also have taken place in Austria, Iceland, Malta, Slovenia and Croatia.
Growth in DTT channels

The total number of channels on DTT networks is now almost 1500. This includes a very large number of local channels even though local/regional channels are only on the DTT platforms in 13 countries. There are very large numbers of local channels in Italy, Spain and Denmark.

Fig 1: Coverage of all DTT channels in EU 27 (+ 2)

Regional and local, National, Several countries/International
Source: MAVISE October 2010

The number of national and international channels available to DTT households (total on all packages) has increased to more than 760 (compared to 500 in April 2009). It should be noted that this includes almost 40 channels that are appearing on the DTT networks in more than one country. Pan-European channels such as Euronews, the Discovery channels, the Eurosport channels, CNN, BBC World etc, are available in a wide range of countries. In addition national channels are appearing in other countries on the DTT networks. For example, several FTA Italian channels are on the pay platform in Malta and the FTA Swedish channel TV4 is on the pay platform in Denmark. Of the 760 channels (in all the packages) 345 are on FTA platforms and 415 are on pay DTT platforms.

Fig 2: Division between FTA and PAY DTT channels in EU 27 (+ 2) (not including local)
Pay, Free
Source: MAVISE October 2010

Pay DTT services

Pay DTT services are available in 14 EU countries, Germany (limited), the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Sweden, and also in various non-EU European countries such as Iceland, Albania, Norway, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Switzerland.

The level of success of Pay-DTT varies widely but the business model has proved more difficult to launch in some smaller countries. Pay DTT has been cancelled or postponed in several countries, including Cyprus, Portugal and Ireland. The DTT roll-out has also been delayed in Romania due to the cancellation of the DTT tenders. On the other hand, several smaller countries have had pay DTT services launched before the free service is launched, for example Albania, Estonia, Malta.
HD channels

HD channels are available on DTT platforms in France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Norway, Hungary, Estonia, and Lithuania. HD services are due to be launched in Sweden and Finland (end 2010 and early 2011).

Public and private

The public channels continue to play an important role on the FTA platforms (more than one third of these are public channels) but logically less so on the pay platforms (less than 10% are public).

Fig 3: Public/ Private DTT channels in EU 27 (+ 2) (not including local)
Private, Public
Source: MAVISE October 2010

Genre of TV channels

There is a strong distinction between the variety of genres on pay and FTA DTT platforms. This is also logical as the FTA platforms have a stronger presence of the national generalist channels, while the Pay platforms have a much higher number of for example film and sports channels.

Fig 4: Genre of channels on Pay DTT networks in EU 27 (+2) (excluding local)
Entertainment and fiction, Sport, Film, Documentary, Children, Generalist, Music, Lifestyle and travel, Business and News, Home shopping, Other, Adult, Cultural/Educational/International
Source: MAVISE October 2010

Fig 5: Genre of channels on FTA DTT networks in EU 27 (+2) (excluding local)
Generalist, Other, Entertainment and fiction, Business and News,  Cultural/Educational/International, Children, Sport, Film, Adult, Documentary
Source: MAVISE October 2010

MAVISE is a unique free online database, developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission. It provides a full overview of all EU television markets plus Croatia and Turkey. MAVISE contains detailed information on over 7,000 TV channels, 5,000 TV companies, as well as the line-ups of more than 300 DTT, cable, satellite, IPTV or DVB-H packagers.

Methodological note

In a constantly changing television landscape we realise that no figure can be absolute. However, the research and resulting data provided by the European Audiovisual Observatory can be regarded as a fairly reliable overview of the European television market. MAVISE and the data it contains are constantly being up-dated to follow as closely as possible the developments of this extremely complex market. Furthermore, please note that different linguistic versions of a TV channel are considered as separate channels.

The identification of existing TV channels is done by comparing data provided by various sources such as the lists of licences issued by regulatory authorities, the line-ups of satellites (as provided by Lyngsat website), the line-ups of cable, IPTV, DTT and DVB-H operators (as published on their websites), the Observatory’s network of correspondents and the trade press.