Satellite becomes Europe’s leading delivery platform

Satellite has become the leading platform for the delivery of television services in Europe, with Astra taking 73% of the market.

New data released by SES as part of its annual Satellite Monitor shows that 84 million European households use direct-to-home satellite as their primary means of reception, an increase of 22% over the last four years. At the same time, terrestrial television has lost 16 million homes and cable 2 million.

“We thought that the new devices would take over everything, but when you look at the monitor the winner really is satellite,” Norbert Holzle, senior vice president commercial, Europe told an industry briefing in London’s Piccadilly.

The main growth markets for satellite in 2011 were the UK, Germany, Ukraine, Poland and Italy.

In the UK, the approximate 10 million Sky pay-TV homes are supplemented by another 2 million from Freesat, which Mike Chandler, managing director Astra Marketing Ltd, said had picked up audiences as the region-by-region digital switchover took place.

The study is based on more than 62,000 interviews, conducted by leading market research institutes under the lead of TNS Infratest, Germany.

73% of all European satellite homes are Astra households, a total of 62 million. The SES satellite platform is also the top means of receiving HD content. Over 23 million of the total 29 million satellite HD households in Europe are Astra households.

“We recognise that HD at the beginning in the UK was not so well accepted, but we found out it was more to do with the screen size,” said Holtze. “In the UK, the smaller living rooms means there is not the desire for the larger screens”.

245 million HD capable displays had been sold by the end of 2011 as the average price for a full HD screen fell to €600. Screen sizes in excess of 40 inches now represent a third of the market.

3D is less certain with just 6 million units sold, though the price has halved to €1,028 over the last 18 months.

The Astra Satellite System transmits 267 HD channels.

Modes of TV Reception (Source: SES Satellite Monitor)