Market Insight

Macedonia completes analogue switch-off

June 03, 2013

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The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia completed the process of switching off analogue terrestrial TV, after a five-year period of simulcasting, on 31 May. Currently the country's DTT platform offers eight free-to-air channels, as well 45 pay channels provided under the brand BoomTV by Telekom Slovenije-owned telco, One. Two of the multiplexes are operated by public broadcaster, MRT, covering just under 100 per cent of households and providing one HD and three SD channels. Two other multiplexes, operated by One, broadcast five national commercial stations, as well as 30 regional channels. One's network reaches about 92 per cent of total homes, with coverage due to be extended before year end. To facilitate transition to digital terrestrial TV the government assigned subsidies for low income households accounting for 40,000 set top boxes, that is, for about 8 per cent of total homes. One is offering triple-play services, as well as mobile telephony. At the end of 2012 the operator had about 37,000 DTT subscribers.

In spite of the early launch of DTT in 2008, Macedonia's multichannel TV penetration grew relatively slowly. At the end of March, about 20 per cent of homes were still dependent on analogue terrestrial TV. DTT became the largest TV platform on the market, with about half of the country's households watching on primary TV sets. Cable TV is the second largest technology, reaching over 30 per cent of homes, ahead of IPTV (10 per cent). Satellite TV, represented by TotalTV, had just 1,300 subscribers at the end of 2012.

In 2012 due to a fierce competition a number of pay DTT subscribers migrated to other platforms, primarily to Makedonski Telekom's IPTV service. Completion of ASO should help BoomTV to increase its subscriber number most of all pay platforms, however, the competition will continue with all the major players actively marketing their triple-play services.

Macedonia is the third former Yugoslavia country to complete analogue switch-off (ASO), following Slovenia and Croatia. Digital roll-out has already started in Montenegro, but not in Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina. Two more countries in Central and Eastern Europe are about to end analogue terrestrial broadcasts: Poland is planning ASO in July and Bulgaria in October. Macedonia's neighbor, Greece, was planning to complete ASO by the end of 2013, but according to a recent proposal by the country's telecom regulator, the new deadline would be September 2014.

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