Astra satellites are now reaching 135 million TV households, which equals 55% of all TV homes. After HD television, IPTV and connected TVs are growing the market, said Ferdinand Kayser, president and CEO, Astra at a presentation in Berlin.
This is divided as follows: 58 million DTH homes, 68 million cable homes and 10 million IPTV homes. At the moment, 69% of all homes in Europe are digital, but a gap remains between Western and Eastern Europe: 79% of all TV homes in the West are digital, compared to 40% in the East.
HD is driving the process of digitalisation with 20 million satellite HD homes. 27% of all digital satellite homes watch HD. “Why is HD so successful? Because as a product it is self-explanatory. It drives digitalisation, especially in those countries in Europe where digitalisation hasn’t happened, ” said Kayser. “Broadcast is the entertainment medium in the age of internet. TV consumption continues to grow, now at 222 average viewing time per day; even 227 minutes a day in Germany, despite of competition from the internet.”
Kayser said that in Europe close to 185 million HD ready screens have been sold. “Once equipped, people will want to see HD.” At the moment, 20 million European satellite households can receive HD; of these 16 million are served by Astra.
“We have 200 HD channels on Astra, all blue chip channels, public and private; also the pay-TV platforms such as Sky UK. These figures will continue to grow – all expectations have over-achieved; of course we will be glad to make capacity available to channels who want to broadcast in HD. We believe HD will be the de facto broadcasting standard in the future. Once main channels are in HD, also small channels have to go to HD – same as with black and white and colour. More and more thematic channels will turn to HD. Shopping channels also have decided to go HD.”
Another important driver is IPTV. “This may sound surprising, as in one way one can see IPTV as a competitor. We make our signals available to IPTV operators – now Astra serves 10 out of 12 million IPTV homes. In particularly in Germany, we entered into a partnership with Deutsche Telekom,” said Kayser.
In total, satellite is the largest digital mass infrastructure, with a digitalisation rate of 95%, serving 75 million digital homes. This compares to 29 million digital cable homes equalling a cable digitalisation rate of 42%. Almost every second digital TV home is therefore served by satellite today. Comprising analogue and digital reception, satellite increased its lead over cable networks, reaching 79 million homes, compared to 71 million for cable.
Of the European market, the Benelux , Czech Republic and Slovakia are showing strong growth. There are now 1 million DTH homes on Astra in the Benelux, with 740,000 homes also receiving the 23.5 degrees East position, a growth of 40% during 2010. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, 1.6 million homes have their dishes pointed at t Astra, of which 1.2 million homes also look at 23.5 degrees East.