Television in Malta
The first television that could be watched were RAI broadcasts from Sicily. In 1962 TVM was launched as a Maltese public broadcaster by the Public Broadcasting Services. TVM remains the most popular channel in the country. It is a member of the EBU.
In 1991 the government opened the television market to more stations, but rather than allow private companies, they initially gave licenses to the two main political parties and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Malta. The Labour Party's television network One remains the second most popular network, while the Nationalist-controlled NET Television is the third most popular.
Today there are also three private channels Smash Television, fLiving Channel and Xejk - currently transmitted by digital terrestrial, free-to-air signals. The only commercial TV station attracts an audience of 2%. Cable, terrestrial and satellite reception are all available, though the cable service is the most diffused, with Melita Cable. The Malta Communications Authority reported that there were 147,896 pay TV subscriptions active at the end of 2012, which includes analog and digital cable, pay digital terrestrial TV and IPTV. For reference the latest census counts 139,583 households in Malta. Satellite reception is available to receive other European TV networks such as RAI and Mediaset from Italy and the BBC from the United Kingdom.
The Broadcasting Authority supervises all local broadcasting stations and ensures their compliance with legal and licence obligations as well as the preservation of due impartiality; in respect of matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy; while fairly apportioning broadcasting facilities and time between persons belong to different political parties. The Broadcasting Authority ensures that local broadcasting services consist of public, private and community broadcasts that offer varied and comprehensive programming to cater for all interests and tastes.
Two commercial licences were awarded in Malta in 2005 to Multiplus Ltd and Maltacom (now GO). On July 2005, Multiplus Ltd started commercial operations in direct competition to the existing dominant cable operator utilising a total of 8 frequencies. Multiplus Ltd was acquired by GO in February 2007.
Malta transitioned terrestrial broadcasts to digital television using the DVB-T standard in October 2011. In preparation for the transition, the Malta Broadcasting Authority developed a General Interest Objectives classification to determine which existing terrestrial channels would be assigned to the digital subchannels of the new digital free-to-air broadcasting system.
Following the transition, terrestrial channels in Malta are distributed through a network of transmitters operated by the national broadcaster Public Broadcasting Services. The licensed terrestrial channels are broadcast as digital subchannels of UHF channel 66 from Delimara (Marsaxlokk), Nadur, Mellieħa, Mtarfa, Naxxar and Portomaso (St. Julian's).
- Wendy Van den Broeck; Jo Pierson (2008). Digital Television in Europe. Asp / Vubpress / Upa. p. 144. ISBN 978-90-5487-541-3.
- Carmen Sammut (2007). Media and Maltese Society. Lexington Books. pp. 54–. ISBN 978-0-7391-1526-8.
- "MCA Communications Market Review, July to December 2012" (PDF). Malta Communications Authority. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Census of Population and Housing 2011 (Preliminary Report)". National Statistics Office, Malta. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
- "Digital Switchover". Malta Communications Authority. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Consultation Document on the Eligibility Criteria for GIO". Press Releases. Malta Broadcasting Authority. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". Malta Communications Authority.