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Direct-to-Home Satellite Broadcasting in Western Europe Product Image

Direct-to-Home Satellite Broadcasting in Western Europe

  • Published: November 2009
  • Region: Europe
  • 46 Pages
  • Broadband TV News

Western Europe's Direct-To-Home (DTH) satellite platforms are frequently characterized by stagnating subscriber numbers and upgrading of their services to secure and increase revenues from exisiting subscribers.

The most notable exception remains the UK's BSkyB, which continues to build its subscriber baseand, at 9.536 million subscribers at the end of Q3 2009, is closing on its 10 million-subscriber target for 2010. BSkyB offers the largest selection of high definition (HD) channels outside of the US and has used them to build a total of 1.6 million HD homes – many more than some smaller platforms have for their entire standard definition (SD) portfolio. What is more, the News Corp-owned platform has persuaded them all to pay an additional £10 (€11) per month in subscription fees, a model replicated in many, but not all, of their Western European markets with varying degrees of success

The new HD receivers are also capable of delivering television content through the internet. BSkyB has confirmed that it will launch a pull video-on-demand service during 2010 –challenging itself to persuade subscribers to connect their receivers to broadband – READ MORE >

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

AUSTRIA
- The Sky Austria offer
- Free-to-view channels

BELGIUM
- The TV Vlaanderen offer
- The Télésat Numérique offer
- Free-to-air services

FRANCE
- The CanalSat offer
- CanalSat TNT Sat
- The Orange TV offer
- The Bis offer from Groupe AB
- The Fransat offer
- HD
- Free-to-air channels

GERMANY
- Pay-TV on satellite
- Easy.tv prepaid service failed
- The new Sky platform
- The ArenaSat offer
- Kabelkiosk channels on Allessehen.tv
- Free-to-air channels
- HD

GREECE
- The Nova offer
- FTA channels
- HD

IRELAND

ITALY
- The Sky Italia offer
- The TiVu Sat offer
- FTA channels
- HD

LUXEMBOURG

THE NETHERLANDS
- The Canal Digitaal Satelliet offer
- Free-to-air services

PORTUGAL

SCANDINAVIA
- Viasat
- Canal Digital
- First to introduce HD
- Hybrid PVR

SPAIN
- PVR
- TVE contract renewal
- Triple play
- Internet delivery
- Packaging

SWITZERLAND
- Teleclub offer
- CanalSat offer
- HD Suisse
- Free-to-view channels

TURKEY
- Digiturk offer
- The D-Smart offer
- HD

UK
- Pay-TV review
- ITV holding
- Triple Play
- TV packaging
- Technological advances
- HDTV
- 3D
- Technology upgrades
- Freesat
- Freesatfromsky

LIST OF TABLES
- Austria – At a Glance
- Belgium – At a Glance
- France – At a Glance
- DTH Platforms in France: Subscriber Performance
- Germany – At a Glance
- DTH Platforms in Germany: Subscriber Performance
- Greece – At a Glance
- Ireland – At a Glance
- Italy – At a Glance
- DTH Satellite Platforms in Italy: Subscriber Performance
- Luxembourg – At a Glance
- The Netherlands – At a Glance
- DTH Satellite Platforms in the Netherlands: Subscriber Performance
- Portugal – At a Glance
- Norway – At a Glance
- Sweden – At a Glance
- Denmark – At a Glance
- Finland – At a Glance
- DTH Satellite Platforms in Scandinavia: Subscriber Performance
- Spain – At a Glance
- Turkey – At a Glance
- UK – At a Glance
- DTH Satellite Platforms in the UK: Subscriber Performance
- Markets Universes ASTRA Group Coverage (In Million TV Homes)

Western Europe's direct-to-home satellite platforms are in the main characterized by stagnating subscriber numbers and a development of their services to ensure increasing revenues from those that have already signed up.

The daddy remains the UK's BSkyB, which is continuing to build its subscriber base, and at 9.536 million subscribers at the end of Q3 2009 was closing in on the 10 million-subscriber target it had set itself for 2010. BSkyB offers the largest selection of high definition (HD) channels outside of the US and has used them to build a total of 1.6 million HD homes – many more than some of the smaller platforms have for their standard definition (SD) portfolio. What is more, the News Corp-owned platform has persuaded them all to pay an additional £10 per month in subscription fees, a model replicated in many, but not all, of the Western European markets with varying degrees of success.

The new HD receivers are also capable of delivering television content through the open internet. Sky has confirmed that it will launch a pull-video-on-demand service during 2010 – presenting itself with a challenge to subscribers to connect up their receivers to broadband – and later the same year add content in 3D. The latter is more likely to s e rve as a demonstration of the platform's technological prowess, given that subscribers will be required to purchase a new 3D capable television, even if the set-top receiver is capable of handling 3D with just an over-the-air download.

Canal+ has already launched a pull-VOD service through its eye-catching hybrid receiver known as Le Cube. In Scandinavia, Viasat is using progressive downloads to deliver content to its subscriber base, its rival Canal Digital plans to go hybrid in April next year. The rise of the hybrid receiver, which is also making its mark in the DTT sector, is a natural reaction to the launch of VOD services, both from cable networks, and overthe- top providers. The delivery of linear channels by satellite remains an economic way of delivering content to mass audiences, but the popularity of on demand, offering ‘what you want when you want it', means that the DTH operators cannot be left behind. Broadband connectivity can provide a one-off drama or comedy with the possibility that satellite might still be used for, say, the top 50 programmes from a catch-up TV service that could be stored on the increasing numbers of personal video recorders (PVRs) that have been deployed.

Hybrid services work in both directions. France Telecom's Orange and Portugal Telecom's Meo both use satellite as a gap fill to provide their services nationwide, rather than where their earthly ADSL infrastructure permits. Both platforms are recent launches, in France the debut of Orange TV coming after the merger of CanalSat with its longtime rival TPS.

It is not just the IPTV operators that are launching new platforms; spurred by the digital switchover process that must be completed by 2012, free-to-view platforms have emerged in a number of territories, not least in France, that has managed to launch three such services!

The Freesat-style platforms have varying degrees of control placed upon them by the owners; some rights holders demand that the signals are encrypted, while others remain FTA. Freesat itself, owned by the BBC and ITV, transmits in the clear and is adding the hybrid connectivity that will allow it to offer a version of the popular BBC iPlayer catch-up TV service.

Some markets, most notably Germany, have a large base of FTA channels readily available. Attempts like Entavio and Premiere Star have failed to group together the channels in the way that Sky Multichannels achieved with analogue in the early '90s. Sky Deutschland, the new incarnation of the Premiere platform, is looking to change all that. New packaging was introduced in the autumn of 2009 and the News Corp-owned operation is bringing technologies familiar in other markets, but a world away from the zapper boxes that have previously characterized Europe's largest television market.

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