Satellite provider, Eutelsat crossed the symbolic landmark of 1000 channels in high definition (HD) this month, with the launch of CGTN HD at Eutelsat’s Hotbird neighbourhood.
CGTN HD, the news and current affairs channel of China’s CCTV media organisation, marks its first foray into HDTV in Europe.
Eutelsat Communications said that HDTV continues to gain ground across its broadcast satellites with 240 HD channels launched in 2016, equalling the total number launched during the previous two years.
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 lineup.
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; a wave of new free-to-air channels that include Euronews HD and Al Jazeera English.
Michel Azibert, commercial and development director at Eutelsat, said: “2016 marked a tipping point for HDTV across our portfolio of video neighbourhoods, culminating in a new landmark of 1000 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.”
With almost 150 HD channels, of which 100 are exclusive, the 7/8° West position hosted by Eutelsat and Nilesat satellites leads the transition to HD in the MENA. 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.