Friday 25 January 2013

Commercial TV opting-out of Digital Terrestrial Television

RTL Deutschland has decided to  terminate its current DVB-T distribution in the country. This will affect terrestrial distribution of RTL, Vox, Super RTL and RTL II and, for Berlin only, n-tv. Terrestrial transmissions will cease on December 31, 2014, with the exception of its broadcasts in Munich, which will already end on May 31, 2013. 

RTL Deutschland said
  the current conditions in Germany prohibit long-term planning, posing a risk to the millions that need to be invested in terrestrial distribution.The broadcaster points out that there are no guarantees that the German federal government will keep the current terrestrial frequency spectrum available for broadcasting beyond 2020.

For the moment, RTL does not see an economically viable business model. Terrestrial distribution is extremely expensive "
more than thirty times than that of satellite distribution". RTLs audience share on DVB-T is also very low, just 4.2% during 2012. DTT also offers a very limited number of channels, 30 channels at the moment on DTT as compared with 93 on cable and 117 on satellite.

If Germany's other main commercial broadcaster, Pro7Sat1 Group also will opt-out of DTT it will ultimately be the death-knell for digital terrestial television in Germany.

In Sweden, first country to go  DTT, coverage is 98 % but today only 29 % of the housholds watch television via DTT. All others mostly on cable, satellite and broadband tv.