MTV is Europe's top distributed channel

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
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MTV is carried by more European operators than any other channel, according to a new report from Digital TV Research. However, the TV Channel Distribution in Europe report points out that several other channels are close behind.

The 168-page report covers 238 international channels/networks across 152 major operators in 34 EMEA countries. Of the total, 67 channels (28%) transmit in high definition (HD).

Top channels carriage by number of operators

Group      Channel                      No of operators
---------  ---------------------------  ---------------
Viacom     MTV                                      123
Disney     Disney Channel                           122
Discovery  Discovery Channel                        121
Fox        National Geographic Channel              120
Eurosport  Eurosport                                115

Source: Digital TV Research

Report author Simon Murray said: “No channel appears on every single platform. MTV is the leader as it is distributed by 123 operators – or 81% of the total. However, only 24 channels are distributed by more than half of the 152 operators covered.”

Top HD channels carriage by number of operators

Group      Channel                      No of operators
---------  ------------------------------  ---------------
Fox        National Geographic Channel HD              100
Eurosport  Eurosport HD                                 91
Disney     Disney XD                                    75
Fox        Nat Geo Wild HD                              67
Discovery  Discovery HD Showcase                        66

Source: Digital TV Research

HD channels are growing in importance as operators are eager to give subscribers something new. The UK’s BSkyB leads in HDTV provision, by offering more than 60 HD channels. National Geographic provides the most distributed HD channel. In fact, the top distributed HD channels are all versions of well-known brands.

Companies stress the importance that a stable of channels has for pan-European success. In this report, 13 groups contributed 228 channels – or 96% of the total. Distribution of the channels ranges from pan-European to a single territory.

Not all channels want widespread carriage. Some channels can gain sway with operators by offering exclusive carriage. In several cases, this report reveals how a channel can be on the basic tier in one country and on a higher tier in another country. Furthermore, several channels are tailored for individual countries or regions to fill specific gaps.

Other channels insist on receiving carriage/affiliate fees, which can put off some operators. Apart from the reluctance to pay carriage fees, some operators carry fewer international channels as the domestic market provides a plethora of thematic channels.

Therefore, most operators only carry 50-60 of these channels. The exception to this rule is Sky in the UK and Ireland, which carries more than 90 channels.

More: TV Channel Distribution in Europe

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