Spain achieves D-Day | News | Rapid TV News
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
On April 2nd Spain’s national analogue switch off took place. This means the country's 46 million inhabitants are no longer able to view analogue terrestrial television any longer. But as many people haven't adapted their collective antennas or have yet to buy a DTT box they're rushing to the shops and phoning installers to do the work. This situation is similar to that of the arrival of private TV channels in this country some 12 years ago when the installers couldn't cope with all the work.
Apart from that now it's time to develop quality contents because most of the strictly digital channels offer old or low quality programming. The other problem is that some of them have rented their space to teleshopping companies which is illegal because the DTT rules demand quality content. But the authorities have done little to enforce this rules to date.

According to the Association of Electronic and Telecommunications Industry (ASIMELEC) the DTT process "has been a success". According to the association's latest figures the DTT signals give technical coverage to 98.13% of the population, and as at February 83.6% of the country's homes were already connected to the new television signals. Sales of DTT boxes topped 28.4m units between March 2003 and February this year. There just remain small areas of the regions of Asturias, Castilla y León, Galicia and the Canary Islands without adequate coverage due to their difficult landscape.

There are eight public and 24 private channels on a national level. For ASIMELEC the next goal for the industry is to improve the contents, to implement the interactivity and add HDTV. According to José Pérez, ASIMELEC's general director, "The process of digitalization won't end before 2015 when the HD DTT, the 3D DTT, the interactive DTT and the distribution of the so called 'digital dividend'
have been completed. So the task is big".

But there's another goal ASIMELEC forgot to mention: will this new market be profitable, taking account of the big number of channels? José Miguel Contreras Mediapro's laSexta's CEO assured the absurdity of this high number of channels in an advertising market which is not growing. "There'll be channels without a significant value and therefore will have to close down."

The smaller broadcasters say they deserve their place in the market because the major private broadcasters such as Sogecable's Cuatro, Mediaset's Telecinco, Mediapro's laSexta and Grupo Planeta's Antena 3 will merge leaving – they say - only two big private national TV channels so the small ones claim there'll be space for them too.

For the moment there's only one pay-DTT channel covering sport with Mediapro's Gol TV with already more than 1 million subscribers.  Most of the rest belong to other pay-TV operators such as Sogecable's satellite pay-TV operator Digital+ or Telefónica's DSL pay-TV operator Imagenio. So in reality pay-DTT only attracts a small number of clients to date.

Another problem within the digitalization of TV is the fragmentation of the audiences. And how to measure them so that advertisers have exact information to decide on which channel to launch their marketing campaigns? There are still many questions to be solved and some major criticism asking why government insisted on HD content from the very first transmissions on DTT.