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Digital TV Households Surpass 100 Million in Western Europe

Growth Fueled By Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)

In what was a record year for digital television subscriber growth, Western European digital television subscriptions broke through the 100 million household mark in 2008, according to a new report by analyst firm Strategy Analytics. The report, Western Europe Digital Television Forecast, 1H’09, estimates that Western Europe added 17 million net new digital households in 2008.

On a platform level, Digital Satellite led in terms of overall subscriptions; however, Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) will fuel the growth of digital television over the next four years. Fifty-seven million homes will use DTT as their primary viewing platform in 2012, according to Strategy Analytics.

“As European countries undergo their respective Digital Switchovers (DSO), and analogue signals are shut off, DTT will emerge as the dominant primary digital viewing platform,” noted John Lee, Analyst in the Strategy Analytics Multiplay Market Dynamics service. “DTT service is becoming competitive with lower-tier pay television offerings–both in terms of channel selection and quality.”

Strategy Analytics forecasts that Western European digital households will surpass the 150 million mark in 2012, implying a four-year CAGR of nearly 10%.

Western Europe: Digital Television Households by Primary Access Platform (millions)

2008 2009
Digital Satellite 40.0 48.2
Digital Cable 17.1 28.7
Digital Terrestrial 36.1 57.6
Telco IPTV 10.0 16.9
Total Digital TV Subscriptions 103.2 151.4

Source: Strategy Analytics, “Western Europe Digital Television Forecast: 1H’09”

Digital cable and IPTV are likewise expected to make strides in the digital television market, each forecasted to have double-digit growth in the upcoming years. IPTV has already made impressive headway in France, where consumers are rapidly adopting this technology. Of the four digital platforms covered, Strategy Analytics estimates that digital satellite will grow the slowest.

This Strategy Analytics report provides in-depth digital television market coverage for 16 countries in Western Europe, and includes digital household forecasts, as well as platform split forecasts (digital cable, satellite, IPTV and DTT).

Report Summary
Digital TV is quickly replacing older analog technologies in the form of digital cable, satellite, digital terrestrial (DTT), and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television). Enhanced image quality and advanced features are among the factors driving the evolution of digital television in Western Europe. Strategy Analytics estimates that Western Europe digital television subscriptions will surpass 150 million households in 2012, representing a 50% increase from the recent 100 million household mark in 2008. The rate of growth forecasted implies a CAGR of slightly over 10% in the next four years. Digital TV household penetration will approach 90% in 2012, driven largely by the widespread distribution of digital terrestrial TV (DTT).

In many countries, free DTT service is competitive compared to the traditional basic cable package in terms of channel selection and quality. Consumers in these markets may consider forgoing Pay TV for the option of free DTT–particularly in times of economic contraction. Coupling the benefit of a competitive channel selection in DTT with the growing popularity of online premium video, DTT will emerge as the dominant digital television service in Western Europe in the upcoming years. Conversely, Digital Satellite, a unidirectional technology, appears vulnerable amidst technologies like Video on Demand in Cable and IPTV. As such, Strategy Analytics forecasts only modest growth.

The growth in DTV penetration will be led by Germany, which will surpass the United Kingdom in DTV households in 2012–approaching 30 million households. Germany has historically been a highly cabled country, and the rate of transition from traditional analog subscribers to digital cable subscribers will more than double in the next few years. Not far behind Germany in DTV households are the UK, France, and Italy, each claiming 20 million digital television households by 2012. This interactive database provides in-depth market coverage for 16 individual countries in Western Europe.

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About Strategy Analytics
Strategy Analytics, Inc. offers high frequency market intelligence on Automotive Electronics and Entertainment, Broadband Connected Home, Mobile & Wireless Products & Systems, and Virtual Worlds.

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