ROME — While the rest of Europe is rapidly moving to digital-terrestrial and satellite TV services, Italians stubbornly prefer the traditional analog signal, denting the country’s image as an emerging high-tech media market, according to a new study.
Italy may be a leader in the nascent markets of TV via broadband and TV via next-generation mobile phones, but the country continues to lag behind its European neighbors in the more advanced digital TV markets of satellite and DTT, according to research institute Censis in conjunction with Italian media companies such as Mediaset, RAI and Telecom Italia.
The study, the sixth of its kind produced by Censis, found that 72% of Italians watch solely free-to-air terrestrial television, compared with 65% in France and Spain, 50% in Germany and 31%, the lowest, in Britain.
Between 2001 and 2006, the satellite TV penetration has grown from 11.9% to 16.7% of the Italian market, DTT has grown from zero to 6.6% and IPTV is now 2.4%. And yet, during this growth spurt, the influence of the terrestrial TV market has declined little, with 93.9% of the Italian market still dependent in some way on terrestrial TV, the study found.
Censis said television is still the preferred medium for news and information, with 90% of Italians flipping on the tube first. Some 56% of Italians say they read daily newspapers, 47% regularly listen to the radio, 29% the Internet and 28% read books regularly.