Eutelsat Communications has said it has broken the barrier of 1,000 video channels in the Hotbird satellite neighbourhood, which grew by 273 channels over the past two years to over 1,050 at end December 2006. The company also announced headline results of its two-year survey of satellite and cable homes. Set up in 1994, the survey measures trends in satellite and cable reception in countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East served by Eutelsat.
The survey, which is published every two years, said the Hotbird audience end 2006 had progressed from 111 million to 121 million homes, of which 40 % (47.5 million) are equipped for DTH satellite reception. The most dynamic DTH markets were Italy, which expanded by 280,000 satellite homes, and Poland which expanded by 211,000.
In eastern Europe, as new cable infrastructure goes into place, the uptake of cable reception from Hotbird was particularly dynamic, accounting for 22.5 million homes which represents an increase of more than 30%.
Commissioned from leading research institutes including GfK, TNS Sofres and Ipsos, the new data produced in 42 countries revealed that satellite and cable homes in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East have expanded twice as fast over the last 24 months as the growth of television homes. Satellite and cable penetration increased by 13% to 170 million homes from 150 million, while television homes expanded by 6% to 333 million homes from 314 million. Satellite and cable reception has consequently passed the tipping point of 50% of television homes.
Commenting on the results, Giuliano Berretta, Eutelsat’s CEO said: “These results demonstrate the strong momentum of satellite and cable broadcasting in a dynamic multi-channel environment which is expected to penetrate over 60 % of television homes in western Europe in the 2010 timeframe. In parallel to sustained audience growth, our key video neighbourhoods have attracted 400 new television channels over the last 12 months, including the first 17 channels broadcasting in HDTV.” (RB)