The research firm said that there were 205 HDTV channel launches in 2012, a 53% increase on the previous high of 134 in 2011.
At the end of the year, there were a total of 710 unique HD channel brands in Europe.
“The appearance of adult HD channels, mostly in the Central and Eastern European region, was a key difference compared to previous years, with 11 of the 18 adult channels currently active in Europe launching in 2012,” said IHS.
“Other areas experiencing fresh growth in Europe were documentary channels, with 15 launches – up from seven the previous year – and lifestyle, in which there were 14 new HD channels, up from nine the previous year.”
Elsewhere there were also peaks in premium and entertainment HD channel launches, with 33 HD movie channels going live, 44 HD sports launches and 37 new HD entertainment channels.
Sweden’s Modern Times Group was singled out as a European HD leader, having launched 16 HD channels in the year.
Pay TV HD channel launches outnumbered free-to-air launches by an average of four-to-one. However, the number of free-to-air launches more than doubled year-on-year at 43 channels – compared to just 20 in 2011 – driven by Astra’s pan-European 19.2 degrees east orbital slot and digital terrestrial television launches in France.
“HDTV continues to be a key driver for pay TV and an important tool for operators to encourage higher-tier subscriptions,” said IHS.
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