Russia is east Europe's 'digital powerhouse'

Russia is leading central and eastern Europe's digital revolution, according to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media. Its latest Eastern European TV report says major investment in digital upgrades will result in 32m households receiving digital signals by the end of 2011, more than five times the 2005 figure. Report author Adam Thomas said: "The region is on the cusp of a significant move into digital."

At the end of 2005 Russia lagged behind Poland in digital households, with 1.4m digital homes compared with Poland's 1.5m. But by the end of 2011 Informa expects those figures will have risen to 10.6m and 6m respectively, giving household penetration rates of 20% and 47%.

"An increasing segment of the Russian population can afford premium TV services, meaning it is well placed to establish itself as the region's digital powerhouse," said Thomas.

"While many Russians remain happy to receive free-to-air broadcasts, the increasing number of platforms offering programming choice is starting to stimulate the market".

Hungary and Romania will have 1.3m and 2m digital households respectively, up from just 171,000 and 190,000 in 2005. The Czech Republic will have just under 1m digital houses in 2001, up from 117,000 in 2005.

Digital penetration will exceed 23% of the region's TV households by 2011.

Thomas said that while satellite was actively upgrading to digital while IPTV was "also looking to emerge as a credible alternative platform".