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Sixty-one languages broadcast across Europe

TVT Media releases findings of pan-European research project

Sixty-one different languages are broadcast across the European Union and Turkey, according to TVT Media research. 

Conducted by Media Asset Capital, the research shows France is the leader of multichannel polyglots, with a total of 18 languages available across 567 channels including Arabic, Mandarin, Khmer, Turkish, Armenian, Romani and Tamil.

English is the most broadcast language in Europe and the most common second TV language in European countries, accounting for 792 of the 8,236 linear channels in the EU and Turkey. 

Other major European broadcasting languages include German (749 channels), French (600), Spanish, Turkish and Italian (over 500 each). The most common non-European language is Arabic (64 channels), followed by Hindi (23), Mandarin (15), Urdu (15), Persian (12) and Bengali (11).

Ian Brotherston, chief executive, TVT Media, said: “At a time when the shape of Europe continues to change, whether through Brexit, free movement of people within the EU or ongoing migration from other regions, understanding the shear variety of languages and cultures across the continent is vital.

“Having a clear picture of just what the European broadcast marketplace really looks like in terms of language and culture can only help broadcasters as they look to the future and take their content to new territories.”

The UK is Europe’s second most diverse market, with 15 languages across 568 channels – including Welsh and Scottish Gaelic – being broadcast. But the biggest UK broadcast languages other than English are the major languages of India (Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil and Punjabi), which account for 62 channels.

Germany is another diverse market and has channels broadcasting in 11 languages, with Turkish the biggest non-native language – while others include Russian, Polish, Greek, Japanese, Mandarin and Persian.

Spain, despite having the highest total of linear channels of any country in the EU (686), only has TV in five languages other than Spanish – of which only two are non-native (English and Portuguese) – making it one of the least diverse markets.

Although the Russian TV market is not captured by the research, Russian is the 17th most broadcast language across other European markets with 135 channels – and still dominates a number of former Soviet Republics, such as Estonia and Latvia, where it is more widely broadcast than the official native languages.