50 Per Cent European Digital TV Penetration by Year-End, Says Informa

New research published last week by Informa Telecoms & Media shows that digital TV penetration of Western European households will break the 50 per cent mark by the end of this year. The 11th edition of Informa's Western European TV report forecasts that digital homes in the region will total 135 million by 2012, equivalent to an 86 per cent penetration rate.

Ted Hall, a Media Analyst at Informa and co-author of the report, said: "Convergence through triple- and quadruple-play is gaining traction. The public are increasingly demanding full-service products that can offer traditional broadcast TV plus a range of other services, such as pay TV, HDTV, VOD, broadband and telephony services. TV companies and telcos are jostling for position to fulfil this growing demand".

The UK is currently the region's most prominent digital market, accounting for 26 per cent of digital TV homes, followed by France with 22 per cent and Germany with 14 per cent. The UK's dominance has begun to wane though, as other markets show improved digital growth rates. According to Adam Thomas, Informa's Media Research Manager: "The signs of progress towards converged services are there for all to see. During 2006, 16.7 million TV households upgraded to digital in Western Europe. By the end of 2012 a further 72.9 million will make the same transition".

Of the 15 countries studied in the report, six are expected to have completely switched to digital by 2012. All countries will exceed 50 per cent digital penetration and only four will fall short of 70 per cent. Cable will account for the majority of the 22 million households still receiving analogue signals, with analogue terrestrial and analogue satellite representing a combined total of just 4.5 million.