The European Audiovisual Observatory says the European digital television market continues to be one of the most dynamic in the world. Data prepared by the Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission shows more than 400 HD channels were operating in the EU as of December 2010.
The MAVISE database shows 300 new channels were launched in the EU during 2010, and by the end of the year 9,893 channels were established in Europe, 7,600 in the EU itself.
Digital television was available in 56% of European households, and 71,5% of households in the EU by the end of 2009.
The 414 HD channels available in the EU represents an increase from the 274 recorded at the end of 2009. The figure includes both HD specific channels and simulcasts of standard definition channels. A significant number of European public service broadcasters are also launching HD simulcast or HD specific channels. Sport remains the most important genre in HD television (approximately 20% of HD channels), followed by film, generalist and documentary channels.
Distribution of HD television channels has also grown rapidly over the past 12 months. At the end of 2010, two thirds of IPTV services offered HD channels and a third of IPTV services offered more than 10 HD channels. HD channels are now available on DTT networks in 13 countries (as compared to three networks at the end of 2009). Major cable operators typically offer between 8 and 23 HD channels. France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK all boast satellite platforms with over 20 HD channels.
There were also channel closures during the year, the Observatory recording the demise of 118 channels. Other than regional and local channels the most common genres to fade to black were entertainment channels (16), adult channels (11) and homeshopping channels (9).
The greatest number of channels originated out of the UK with 1,222 established at the end of the year, but more than half are actually broadcasting to other European countries. Following the United Kingdom are Spain (1,180), Italy (1,059), Hungary (558), France (550) and the Netherlands (421).