“Seventy-five per cent of all satellite households is now digital,” said Wolfgang Elsaesser, MD of Astra Deutschland, during the presentation of the figures earlier this week in Berlin. “Now our challenge is to convert the remaining 4.06 million households before the analogue switch-off in April 2012.”
Last year, Astra Deutschland engaged in a big promotional campaign explaining the virtues of digital television. “We realised a total of 273 million contacts with the campaign,” said Elsaesser, “which means that every German citizen saw it three times. And we will continue this year.”
The digitisation process is also good news for the retailers. “HD leads to a break-through in digital. In December 2009, sales of HD satellite receivers for the first time surpassed that of SD satellite receivers.” During the whole of 2009, a total of 2.06 million satellite receivers were sold in Germany (GfK figures), up from 2.2 million in 2008.
During 2009, GfK also reports 710,000 cable tuners sold (1.05 million in 2008) and 390,000 DTT receivers (290,000 in 2008). “In terms of units sold, satellite receivers account for 70% of the total number, but in terms of actual turnover the percentage is 78%. This is because of the higher prices of satellite receivers with PVR and HD tuners.” There is now a total of 1.3 million HD satellite receivers sold.
The Satellite Monitor also shows the following figures for the German market. Cable reaches 18.6 million households (50% of all TV homes), of which 34% is digital. Satellite DTH reaches 16.2 million homes (43% reach), of which 75% is digital.
Digital terrestrial reaches 2 million homes (5%), but seems to be losing ground with a loss of 900,000 homes. IPTV now has 700,000 (2%) households, all digital. The total number of digital homes in the country number 21,120,000. Of these, 58% is satellite DTH, 30% cable, 9% DTT and 3% IPTV. The total number of German TV households is 37,400,000.
With regards to HDTV, Germany is making progress. The number of HD channels available on satellite in the country has jumped to 17, placing the country at the number 4 position with number of HD channels available. Meanwhile, two more German HD channels were added in February, with Das Erste HD and ZDF HD launching. In July, Sky Deutschland will add another four, bringing the total to 23 channels. The total number of HD ready TV sets in the country is 22 million sold.
With regards to the introduction of the HD+ platform, “Things are progressing better than predicted,” said Ferdinand Kayser, president and CEO of SES Astra. “We have delivered 600,000 smart cards to the manufacturers plus another 100,000 during February, bringing the total to 700,000 cards.” Kayser expects to announce more channels for the HD+ platform before the end of the year.