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Europe moves closer to digital switchover

Twenty-two of the EU’s 27 member states have now completed digital switchover, as have the non-EU states of Croatia, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, according to European Audiovisual Observatory’s latest survey.

According to the pan-European body’s Yearbook, pay DTT services are now available in 17 EU countries and 21 European countries overall. Eighty-six new DTT channels were launched last year, and HD channels are available in DTT networks in 22 European countries.

A total of 33 pay DTT services were available in 21 ccountries at the end of last year following new launches in Belgium and Greece. However, according to data supplied by IHS Screen Digest, the number of pay DTT subscribers dropped by 13%, with almost one million subscribers dropping out of Italy’s pay DTT service.

According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, 369 new channels launched in the EU across all platforms – DTT, cable, satellite and IPTV – last year, with over 40% of these being HD channels. The number of channels closing down fell from 143 in 2011 to 62 in 2012.

Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece are scheduled to complete switchover this year, with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to follow in 2014 and the remaining countries – Albania, Montenegro, Romania, Russia and Turkey – in 2015.