DTH in CEE continues to grow

Satellite penetration in central and eastern Europe is still relatively low compared with western Europe but has been growing four times as fast, according to Olivier Milliès-Lacroix, commercial director of satellite operator Eutelsat.

At Informa’s Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe conference in Krakow, Milliès-Lacroix revealed that the number of channels available on DTH platforms in the region increased to 1,500 from 936 two years earlier. By contrast, the number of channels in western Europe increased by 614 to 3389 in the same period.

“The growth rate in TV channels in central and eastern Europe is outgrowing western Europe by 2.5 times,” Milliès-Lacroix said. The number of DTH platforms in the region tripled in four years to a total of 23 the end of 2008, while 61% of the installed DTH subscriber base take pay-TV services.

Ninety five per cent of DTH services in central and eastern Europe are digital, compared with 81% in western Europe. This was down to the legacy of analogue services in the west, Milliès-Lacroix said. “There are a number of favourable reasons that DTH in central and eastern Europe is performing so well,” he said. “First, the market is extremely diverse in terms of the number of countries. The markets are also very competitive because new operators are entering and many of them have an entrepreneurial spirit. They bring lots of innovations, like HD services.” In 2006, there were two HD channels in central and eastern Europe, Milliès-Lacroix said. By the end of 2008 the number stood at 47.

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