German broadcasters are preparing to switch off their analogue signals on the Astra satellite, even though they are reluctant to commit to a public timetable, with 2010 penciled in as most likely date for analogue switchover on satellite.
According to satellite operator SES there are still some 16 million homes receiving an analogue signal direct from the Astra satellite system at 19 degrees East. Christoph Limmer, business analyst, strategic market development, SES, explained that around six million of these were outside of Germany where the former communist states were familiar with the German language. Between them Germany, Austria and Switzerland represent 29.6% of Astra’s satellite market.
“We are already in discussions with one German broadcaster to give back their [analogue] channels next year,” added Markus Payer, vice president media relations,
SES-Astra. “It won’t be 44 channels in 2010 but a smooth transition”. The operator is offering its clients flexible contracts and recently closed such a deal with leading commercial player ProSiebenSat.1.
Across the key Astra orbital slots 35.2 million homes currently receive a digital signal from satellite. (JC)