U.S. rules Euro channels biz

MTV leads packs with 81% coverage

LONDON — U.S. media groups have a stranglehold on the European TV channels biz, according to a new report.

Four of the five most widely distributed webs in the region are MTV, the Disney Channel, Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel.

Only Eurosport, owned by French broadcaster TF1, is run by a local outfit.

The extent of U.S. domination is revealed in TV Channel Distribution in Europe, published by Digital TV Research.

Report author Simon Murray said, “No channel appears on every single platform. MTV is the leader as it is distributed by 123 operators, 81% of the total.

“However, 24 channels are distributed by more than half of the 152 operators covered.”

The Disney Channel, Discovery, National Geographic and Eurosport are distributed by 122, 121, 120 and 115 operators respectively.

HD channels are growing in importance in Europe as platform owners can charge premium subscription fees for the services: 28% of the webs transmit in HD.

U.K. paybox BSkyB leads in HDTV offering more than 60 webs.

The top distributed HD channels are all versions of well-known brands with National Geographic leading the pack.

Media owners stress that to achieve pan-European success in the channels biz a stable of channels is key.

According to the report, 13 groups contributed 228 channels, 96% of the total.

Distribution of the webs ranges from pan-European to a single territory.