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With all of the countries in Eastern Europe (except for Russia, Ukraine and Bosnia & Herzegovina) having completed analog shut-off, digital terrestrial TV (DTT) penetration in the region is rising, reaching 27.5% of TV households at the end of 2016. Among the estimated 38.6 million total DTT households, the vast majority, or 38.2 million, received free-to-air signals, with the remaining 400,000 subscribing to a pay DTT package. This creates opportunities for new pay DTT initiatives to arise in markets with favorable conditions, including Slovenia, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Czech Republic.
DTT adoption across Eastern Europe
As of end-2016, DTT service adoption was the highest in the smaller markets in Eastern Europe, at 66.5% in Croatia, followed by 60.9% in Lithuania and 57.7% in Czech Republic. All three markets with the highest DTT uptake have relatively low pay TV adoption, which attracts FTA viewers to DTT. With the exception of Czech Republic, these markets also have pay DTT operators targeting viewers interested in premium and HD programming. On the flip side, Romania had the lowest DTT penetration rate in the region at just 9.9% of TV households in 2016, yet very high pay TV adoption at 92.4%. DTT take-up remains low as the pay TV operators include FTA DTT channels in their offers.
DVB-T/DVB-T2 is the technical standard adopted for DTT broadcasting in Eastern Europe. HD DTT transmission is becoming common practice across the region, with HD FTA DTT channels available in nine markets.
Pay DTT: Availability and where to expect it next
Pay DTT services are available in 10 markets across Eastern Europe. We have identified factors that either support or hinder the introduction of pay DTT in a given market. Our analysis indicates that pay DTT is unlikely to develop in the near future in Russia, Poland, Romania and Albania. On the contrary, the launch of the new pay DTT services can be expected in Slovenia, Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Czech Republic.
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