European TV broadcasters launch new channels

15 January 2010

BRUSSELS: Broadcasters from across the EU continued to expand their services in 2009, despite adverse economic conditions.

Figures from MAVISE, a database launched by the European Commission, show that 245 new channels were launched over the course of the year, while 225 channels were shut down.

This brings the European channel total to around 7,200, with the database gathering information from all 27 EU states, along with candidate countries Croatia and Turkey.

Included in the shutdown figure is the closure of 100 local TV channels in Spain, which came with the demise of the Localia network, owned by the Prisa Group.

The net increase in channel numbers comes despite the severe financial pressures exerted on broadcasters by the global economic downturn, which has squeezed ad spend across the board.

European countries were also revealed by MAVISE to be managing the general transition to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), with the services having been launched in 24 of the 29 nations by the end of 2009.

The old analogue signals were switched off entirely in six nations: Germany, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden.

DTT launched for the first time in Latvia, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia during 2009, and will be launched in Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania over the course of this year.

According to the MAVISE data, the UK is the continent's leader in terms of TV channel numbers, with 1,033 currently-available services having originated from the nation.

Italy is the nearest competitor, with 388 channels available.

Data sourced from MAVISE; additional content by Warc staff