For the first time ever, the number of German households receiving TV via satellite has broken the 17-million mark. 17.1 million German households now watch television directly via satellite (DTH), a gain of 430,000 households in the first six months of the year.
According to the newest research, the number of digital satellite households rose to 14.5 million, representing a digitalisation rate of 85% and leaving 2.5 million analogue satellite households to be converted to digital reception until the analogue switch-off date, set for the end of April next year.
Cable has decreased its reach, now transmitting to 17.9 million homes, 260,000 less than half a year before. But cable is still the number one infrastructure, with DTH fast catching up. The digitalisation rate of cable infrastructures is 43%. Digital terrestrial TV lost 300,000 households and now reaches 1.7 million homes.
These are the results of the most recent Satellite Monitor, a study that SES Astra conducts on a European scale every year. In Germany, SES ASTRA conducts these studies every six months in partnership with the regional regulatory authorities (Landesmedienanstalten) and through the market research institute TNS Infratest. Between May and June 2011, TNS conducted 8,000 interviews across the country.
However, internet-delivered TV has continued to grow this year. For the first time ever, IPTV in Germany has reached the one-million mark.
Satellite remains the driving force behind digitisation in Germany. There are now 14.5 million households using DVB-S, which brings the percentage of homes that have gone digital to 85. Cable TV users are also going digital, but with the proportion at just 43%, the majority (10.1 million households) are still receiving analogue services.
Just 2.5 million households still receive analogue satellite services. That means the number of users fell by 400,000 in the first six months of 2011. The remaining homes have just eight months to make the move to digital satellite TV. On April 30, 2012 analogue satellite TV services in Germany will be permanently shut down.
Wolfgang Elsäßer, managing director of Astra Deutschland, said in a statement: “Astra remains the most popular choice for TV reception. More and more people are realising that satellite TV is ahead of the competition when it comes to cost, variety and quality. Astra households throughout Germany can receive – with no monthly connection charges – around 270 German-language channels, over 30 of which are broadcast in HDTV. All they need in addition to a normal satellite dish is a digital receiver, which is available for as little as €30. We are confident that the remaining analogue households will switch to digital. I recommend everyone to make the change in good time. In 99% of the cases it is sufficient to replace the receiver; we recommend to switch to an HD receiver straight away.”
The leading TV trend remains HDTV. Germany now has 4.5 million satellite households watching content in HD quality. That is almost a third of all digital satellite users.
An analysis by market research group GfK showed that the proportion of satellite receivers that are HD has also increased. In the first six months of 2011, HD had a share of 61%. In the same period last year, the figure was 55%. In absolute terms, the number of HD devices sold rose from 863,000 to 906,000.
During the first half of 2011, a total of 1.531 million digital satellite receivers were sold in Germany. That’s roughly the same number as in the first half of 2010 (1.596 million). However, sales last year were boosted by major sporting events like the Olympics and the football World Cup, which have not been a factor in 2011.