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Digital TV in Western Europe Reaches 104M

Informa Telecoms & Media's latest market study shows that digital TV penetration of Western European households broke the 50 percent barrier in 2007, ending the year at 54 percent, up from 42 percent at the end of 2006.

The 12th edition of Informa's report forecasts that digital homes in the region will reach 104 million by the end of 2008, rising to 157 million by 2013, equivalent to a 90 percent penetration rate.

Despite the rosy picture, full digital conversion is only expected in four (Finland, France, Ireland and the UK) of Western Europe's fifteen major broadcast TV countries.

Adam Thomas, Informa's Media Research Manager, said "While cable will remain the region's leading pay TV platform, the satellite subscriber base is eating into its dominance. Satellite's much higher ARPU levels mean it will exceed cable in revenue terms during 2009."

Cable is also expected to lose its position as the leading platform, when digital terrestrial TV (DTT) overtakes it in 2011. According to Thomas, "DTT often provides a similar channel line-up to analogue cable, usually for no monthly fee, so will benefit from churning cable customers. IPTV is also using attractive triple-play bundles to tempt away cable subscribers."

The UK is currently the most prominent digital market, accounting for 25 percent of the region's digital TV homes, followed by France with a 20 percent share and Germany with 17 percent.

The UK's dominance has begun to wane though, as other markets show improved digital growth rates and by 2013 Germany will lead the way with 19 percent of the total.

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