Digital TV at the Heart of Convergence in the European Communications Market, IDC Says

LONDON – JUNE 18, 2001 – According to IDC, there are now over 28 million subscribers to digital television (DTV) services across Western Europe, and by 2005, this number will rise to almost 80 million. Satellite operators currently continue to dominate, although cable and terrestrial show signs of presenting a challenge in the next five years in certain countries.


"DTV is central to current debates over the future of the communications industry," said Nicky Walton, research analyst with IDC’s European Telecommunications Services program. "It lies at the heart of convergence trends, namely between networks, platforms and the ways in which consumers use them, and the content transmitted over them. Moreover, it’s likely to be the most pervasive converged technology for a number of years. Broadcasting has a cultural importance that is different to telecommunications and other forms of content delivery as it is far more ubiquitous and influential. The development of DTV will have a fundamental impact on economic policy decisions, the speed of DTV deployment, and social and media policy issues relating to the production and deployment of indigenous content."

The rapid changes occurring in the converging broadcasting and communications markets are moving faster than regulation can keep up and as such are forcing massive change on market competition and thus on local and national regulatory bodies. As convergence continues to accelerate, the complexity and potential for confusion will only increase unless the regulatory system is adapted to accommodate the digital environment, thus enabling national and local regulators to respond to these fast-changing circumstances.

"DTV will ultimately enable cable operators to act as service providers or packagers of content and market it directly to their subscriber base. The type of industries involved in the DTV arena has shifted in the last five years. The next five years will witness more important changes in terms of mergers, acquisitions, and cross-media consolidation between telephone companies, cable television companies, Internet service providers, broadcast TV networks, content providers, utility companies, and mobile operators," Walton said.

The Development of Digital Television in Western European Telecoms Markets (IDC #HT03H) examines the emerging market of digital television (DTV) development in Western Europe. It provides a detailed analysis of the Western European DTV market and includes five-year DTV subscription forecasts for digital satellite, cable, terrestrial, and DSL platforms. The report also examines which companies are best positioned to provide the services that consumers want and need in the DTV communications arena and also looks at changing business models. To purchase this report, contact Chad Eaton at 1-800-343-4952, extension 6972, or at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world’s leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


# # #

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.