Television in Spain

Television in Spain

Television in Spain was launched in 1956, when TVE started its regular broadcasts. Prior to 1982, public television monopolised the Spanish television, but the first private television was not launched until 1990. In 1974, colour transmission started with tests in 1972. Full-time colour broadcasts since 1977, with the exception of colour commercials, which started in 1978. Currently, television is one of the leading mass media of the country, being present in 99.7% of households in Spain (according to INE data corresponding to 2008).

At this time terrestrial television in Spain is considered an essential public service to the State, whose management is made directly by the State itself and in an indirect manner, through administrative concessions to private. In 2010, this situation changed with the Audiovisual Law, which carries the liberalization of the service radio and television so happens to be considered a service that individuals pay on a competitive basis with limitations.


Analogue terrestrial television

Analogue terrestrial television started in Spain on October 28, 1956. La 1 was the very first regular television channel, and operated alone until 1966, when La 2 was launched. La 1 and La 2 were the only authorised channels in Spain, until 1982, when the two first autonomic channels, TV3(1983) in Catalonia and Euskal Telebista(1982) in the Basque Country, were launched, breaking TVE's monopoly. More autonomic channels, TVG, Canal 9, Telemadrid and Canal Sur, were launched in the 1980s, prior to the full television liberation when private channels were authorised by law in 1989.

Antena 3, Telecinco and Canal+ were launched in 1990, in January, March and September respectively, finishing the public television monopoly in Spain. Through the 1990s and 2000s, more autonomic channels (most of them public, but some of them private) were launched, and all of them created FORTA, a union of public autonomic channels. Many local channels were also launched, some of them created the Localia Network. During the 1990s, dozens of local channels started broadcasting without a license. The government declared that channels that proved to be operating for a long time could go on working, but blocked new unlicensed channels.

In the 2000s, the analog national and autonomic channels started simulcast on Digital Terrestrial Television. In 2005, Canal+ stopped its analog service to move to Digital Plus and was substituted by Cuatro. Some weeks later, the last analog national private channel, La Sexta, started testing broadcasts, to begin its regular analog schedule in 2006. In 2009, the analog service started its closure in a process that lasted one year. On April 3, 2010, the analog service was officially discontinued, but there are still some small local analog channels operating, most of them the unlicensed analog channels.

Digital terrestrial television

The development of digital terrestrial television was very similar to the failure of ITV Digital in the United Kingdom. Digital terrestrial television was introduced in the country by the pay per view platform Quiero Television. In May 2002, state wide operators were required to start broadcasting in DVB-T. Yet, Quiero TV ceased transmissions in 2002 after a commercial failure. Unlike the UK, the three and half multiplexes left by the platform were not reassigned to other operators, and so 5 channels were squashed into a single multiplex.

On November 30, 2005, Digital Terrestrial Television was relaunched as a free service with 20 channels and 14 radio stations, along with 23 regional and local language channels in their respective areas. Currently about 95% of the population can receive TDT. Each multiplex has a minimum of 4 SD channels each or one HD channel. Televisió de Catalunya - TVC and Aragón Televisión are using spare bandwidth in their own digital multiplex to broadcast test HD streams.


Digital cable is slowly replacing the aging analogue service of the major cable provider Ono. Telecable, a cable ISP operating in Asturias has begun trials for 100 mega bytes per second service and is the first to broadcast HD channels. R, a cable operator in Galicia, has completely switched pay TV to digital (DVB-C) by 2008 but free channels are simulcast as analog services, so users without a set-top box can watch them (including most free-to-air channels available on digital terrestrial TV in each location).


Digital satellite services has existed since 1997 from Astra and Hispasat satellites. The Digital+ pay platform has carried some HDTV tests on Astra 19.2°E on June 16, 2005. They consisted of some clips from Canal plus best known programs, such as "Lo más +", "Las noticias del guiñol", "La hora wiki", and "Código Cine".

A high definition version of Canal+ (Canal+ HD) started on January 29, 2008, and HD versions of Canal+ Deportes and Canal+ Dcine broadcast from Astra 1KR.


During 2007 Telefónica ran trials of VDSL services up to 52 Mbit/s - However, the results were not as good as expected. For this reason, Telefónica will use FTTH for future IPTV services.

List of television stations

Former analogue and digital

Analogue service was discontinued in April 2010. Since then, all national and regional terrestrial channels are digital.

  • TVE1: public service broadcasting network, with both public and commercial financing. Also known as La Uno (The One) or La Primera (The First)
  • TVE2: second nationwide public channel. Also known as La Dos (The Two).
  • Antena 3: One of the nation-wide private television networks that received a broadcasting licence in 1989. Antena 3 airs general programs such as news, movies, reality shows, sport events and quizzes.
  • Telecinco: one of the nation-wide private television networks that received broadcasting license in 1989. Telecinco airs general programs such as news, movies, reality shows, sport events and quizzes.
  • Cuatro: replaced Canal+ Spain after the end of its terrestrial analogue broadcast on November 7, 2005. Cuatro, founded by Sogecable, airs general programs such as news, movies, documentaries, reality shows, sport events and quizzes. In December 2009 it was merged with Telecinco.[1]
  • La Sexta: the last nation-wide private station, owned by the Mexican corporation Televisa and the Spanish production companies Mediapro, Mediapro is the real owner of the channel, Televisa has also a part of the stock. It started to broadcast in March 2006. It was born with some technical limits, since its analogue broadcast covered, at the most, 85% of the Spanish population.
  • And most regions of Spain ("Comunidad Autónoma") have their own public network service : Telemadrid in Madrid, 7RM in Murcia, Canal Sur and Canal 2 Andalucía in Andalusia, TVG Televisión de Galicia, TV3 in Catalonia, Canal 9 in Valencia, EITB Euskal Telebista in Basque Country, TPA in Asturias, etc. Most of these channels (called "las autonómicas") are integrated in the FORTA ("Federación de Organismos de Radio Televisión Autonómicos").

Digital only

  • 24h: 24 hour news channel. Also on digital satellite & cable operators.
  • Clan: children/teen channel. Also on digital satellite & cable operators.
  • Teledeporte: sports; also on digital satellite & cable operators.
  • Canal Parlamento: politics.
  • TVE HD: TVE programs in HD.
  • Antena 3:general programs.
  • Antena 3 HD: all programs of Antena 3 in HD.
  • Neox: children/teen channel and general programs.
  • Nova: woman-oriented programs, lifestyle, TV series and movies.
  • Nitro: men-oriented programs, sports, TV series and movies.
  • Telecinco: general programs.
  • Cuatro: general programs.
  • Telecinco HD: programs in HD.
  • LaSiete: sport, entertainment programs.
  • FactoríaDeFicción: TV series and movies.
  • Boing: children channel.
  • Divinity: women-oriented programs, lifestyle and celebrity gossip.
  • Xtra: men-oriented programs.
  • Canal+ Dos: pay-tv channel. Also on digital satellite.
  • laSexta: general programs.
  • laSexta HD: all programs of laSexta in HD.
  • laSexta2: reality shows and documentaries.
  • laSexta3: movies.
  • Gol Televisión: pay-tv football channel.
  • Veo7: general
  • 13TV: catolic general programs
  • Marca TV: sports.
  • AXN: pay-tv series channel.
  • Mundo Interactivo
  • Intereconomía: general programs.
  • La 10: general programs.
  • Disney Channel Spain: free Disney Channel.
  • MTV Spain: free MTV.
  • La Tienda en Casa : shopping.

By Autonomous community

  • Andalusia
  • Aragon
  • Asturias
  • Balearic Islands
  • Basque Country
  • Canary Islands
  • Cantabria
  • Castile and León
  • Castile-La Mancha
  • Catalonia
  • Extremadura
  • Galicia
  • La Rioja
  • Madrid
  • Region of Murcia
  • Navarre
  • Valencian Community

Discontinued channels

  • TVE 50 Años: Events from the past 50 years of TVE; the service (which shared a frequency with Clan TVE) closed on 1 January 2007
  • TVE: culture.
  • Telehit: Pop-rock music channel recorded in Mexico
  • FlyMusic: Music channel
  • Net TV: General programs
  • Telecinco Sport: Sports
  • Telecinco Estrellas: TV Series
  • Hogar 10: La Sexta's second television channel
  • Telecinco 2: Realities and sports
  • Gran Hermano 24h: reality TV channel
  • Sony Entertainment Television: a joint venture between VEO TV and Sony Pictures
  • CNN+: news.
  • 40 latino: only in TDT.
  • Tienda en Veo: shopping.
  • Cincoshop: shopping.
  • Promo: shopping.
  • Canal Club: shopping.
  • Net TV: general

Most-viewed channels

Monthly viewing shares on November 2010:[2]

Position Channel Group Share of total viewing (%)
1 TVE1 TVE 15.2
2 Telecinco Gestevisión Telecinco (Mediaset 40%, PRISA 18%) 14.2
3 Antena 3 Grupo Antena 3 11.2
4 La Sexta Audiovisuales La Sexta 7.3
5 Cuatro Gestevisión Telecinco (Mediaset 40%, PRISA 18%) 6.7
6 TVE2 TVE 2.4

See also


External links

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