High Definition TV continues to gain ground across the broadcast satellites operated by Eutelsat Communications with the 240 HD channels launched in 2016 equalling the total number launched during the previous two years.
The milestone landmark of 1,000 channels was crossed this month with the launch at Eutelsat’s HOTBIRD neighbourhood of CGTN HD, the news and current affairs channel of China’s CCTV media organisation, marking its first foray into HDTV in Europe.
Eutelsat’s key video neighbourhoods all saw HD growth in 2016, with three distinguished for exclusive content and market leadership.
The upwards curve of HD take-up was particularly strong at Eutelsat’s flagship HOTBIRD position where HD channels increased by 25% to 250, now accounting for almost one in four channels in the HOTBIRD line-up.
This dynamic is driven by three key trends: progressive HD adoption by public broadcasters including RAI that has transitioned nine channels to HD and CCTV that launched three channels; new premium pay-TV content in flagship platforms including Sky Italia, Polsat, nc+ and Nova and a wave of new free-to-air channels that include Euronews HD and Al Jazeera English.
With almost 150 HD channels (up 40% in one year), of which 100 are exclusive, the 7/8° West position hosted by Eutelsat and Nilesat satellites leads the transition to HD in the Middle East and North Africa. Free-to-air channels in HD now outnumber pay, with strong brands launched exclusively at this neighbourhood including five channels launched by Kuwait TV and Echourouk News HD, the 24/7 Algerian news channel.
Eutelsat satellites at 36° East that serve Russian and African markets clocked 14 additional HD channels over the last 12 months, rising to 114 HD channels. Russia’s leading NTV+ and Tricolor platforms each broadcast around 40 channels, to which can be added 32 HD channels broadcast to homes in Siberia from 56° East. In Africa, MultiChoice Africa and Zap are in the vanguard of HD, broadcasting 16 and 17 channels respectively and underscoring the trend towards higher resolution in Africa’s TV market.
Michel Azibert, Commercial and Development Director at Eutelsat, said: “2016 marked a tipping point for High Definition TV across our portfolio of video neighbourhoods, culminating in a new landmarkof 1,000 channels, many of which are exclusive to Eutelsat. We are fully equipped to accommodate this accelerating pace and to work closely with broadcasters as they transition to an enhanced viewing experience.”