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Number of TV channels in Europe still growing, driven by HD simulcast


- The total number of TV channels established in the European Union has grown by 49%, with HD channels accounting for 57% of the net increase

Number of TV channels in Europe still growing, driven by HD simulcast

The MAVISE (the database on TV and on-demand audiovisual services and companies in Europe, set up by the European Audiovisual Observatory) has announced that the total number of TV channels established in the European Union grew by 49% from 3,615 TV channels in 2009 to 5,370 in 2015 (excluding local channels and windows).

Gilles Fontaine, head of the Markets and Funding Information Department at the European Audiovisual Observatory, spoke exclusively to Cineuropa about the figures: “Digital broadcasting has boosted the network capacity, enabling the broadcasting of more channels at a lower cost. Consequently, it is easier to reach consumers and less costly to launch a new channel.”

HD channels accounted for 57% of the net increase in channels during the period from 2009-2015. Fontaine added, “The launch of high-definition channels is now the main driving force behind the growth in the number of services. Strictly speaking, it's not so much about new channels, but rather HD versions of existing channels, even though we're also seeing the launch of several HD-only channels. In the long term, the standard-definition channels will gradually be phased out, but a new transition will most likely begin to take place: one towards ultra HD.” Other genres with significant net channel growth over the same time period were sport (11% of the total net increase) and entertainment channels (6% of the total net increase). 

The markets with the highest number of established channels in 2015 were the UK, France, Germany and Italy. Fontaine added, “Of course, the most important markets in terms of the number of consumers tend to be those with the most channels. But that's not the only criterion: we are observing 'hubs' popping up in smaller countries, where it's not only the channels aimed at that country that are established, but also channels that target other European countries, particularly through offshoots in different languages.” These major hubs include the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden.

For more information, consult the free MAVISE TV and VoD database here.

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