Puneet Varma

Television in Portugal

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Television in Portugal was introduced in 1956 (test broadcasts) by Radiotelevisão Portuguesa (now named Rádio e Televisão de Portugal), which held the nationwide television monopoly until late 1992. Regular broadcasting was introduced on March 7, 1957. Colour transmissions were introduced on March 10, 1980.


Digital terrestrial television (DTT) was introduced at a very late stage when compared to other countries in Europe and with limited channels, and according to the European Audiovisual Observatory it occupies the last place in 34 European countries with the weakest offer on digital terrestrial television. In such a way that most Portuguese are subscribers of cable (HFC) or IPTV (DSL or FTTH) platforms, in percentages higher than in the rest of Europe and these platforms are well developed with a large number of channels. During the transition from analog to DTT, subscription-based television services experiences a 10% increase and reached 72.5% of homes in 2012. Regional and local television is also limited. Portuguese television is regulated by the Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social (ERC). In 2016, TVI was the ratings leader with 21.5% share while SIC, RTP1 and RTP2 had 17.6%, 13.7% and 2.0%, respectively.


On March 7, 1957 public broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) began broadcasting RTP1, the first television channel in the country. A second RTP channel, RTP2, started broadcasting on December 25, 1968. Private commercial channels were launched in the early 1990s, with SIC on October 6, 1992 and TVI on February 20, 1993.


Analog broadcasts in Portugal was discontinued on April 26, 2012. There are eight free-to-air channels on Portuguese terrestrial TV: 6 are owned by the public service broadcaster RTP (with 2 being regional channels that broadcast in FTA only in the Madeira and Azores Autonomous Regions), 2 are from private broadcasters (SIC and TVI) and 1 is owned by the Aseembly of the Republic and broadcasts parliamentary sessions (like BBC Parliament).

See Digital terrestrial television in Portugal

Nationwide channels

  • ARTV: a public TV channel that broadcasts the sessions of Assembly of the Republic.
  • RTP1: the flagship channel of RTP, the Portuguese public broadcasting corporation, and presents a general programming composed mainly by news, talk shows, discussion-based programs, national and international fiction and drama and entertainment. It is the third most watched TV channel in Portugal.
  • RTP2: the second channel of Portuguese television. It focuses more on intellectual and cultural programming, as well as children and documentary programs. It is the only terrestrial channel in Portugal that broadcasts international (mostly American) TV-series during the prime-time. The least watched terrestrial station in Portugal.
  • RTP3: a news channel from RTP.
  • RTP Memória: archive programming from RTP and classic programming from various worldwide broadcasters (ranging from BBC's 'Allo 'Allo! to FOX's The X-Files).
  • SIC: first private television station in Portugal. It broadcasts mainly Brazilian telenovelas and long talk shows (more than 8 hours every day), talent shows, as well as themed programming. Like competitor TVI, SIC does not broadcast many international TV-series during prime-time. The channel is the second most popular channel in Portugal.
  • TVI: second private station in Portugal. It focuses mainly on Portuguese telenovelas (usually 5 or more in production at the same time), as well as talk-shows. These talk-shows account for more than 45% of TVI's programming and concentrate mainly on human interest stories, while the other 55% comprises telenovelas. It is also well known for its popular reality shows. The primary target audience of TVI are housewives and the elderly. It is the most watched TV channel in Portugal with a 23% audience share.
  • Regionals channels

  • RTP Açores: Regional Public broadcaster broadcasting only in Azores.
  • RTP Madeira: Regional Public broadcaster broadcasting only in Madeira.
  • HD broadcasts

    As of worldwide sport events, the common broadcasters usually start a temporary HD channel for subscription digital television users.

  • For the UEFA Euro 2008, TVI launched TVI HD to broadcast the event in HD (although you could also see the channel 24 hours).
  • Also for the UEFA Euro 2008, SportTV launched an HD simulcast of SportTV 1.
  • For the Beijing Olympics 2008, RTP has launched RTP HD, but this one had non-continuous programming, broadcasting only the Olympics (which come to air very late night) and some RTP2 sports programing during the day, pausing in the morning to around 15 (3 p.m) for Desporto 2 and then stopping again until 21 (9 p.m) to show prime-time during the week and movies during weekend. Night was filled with the Olympics from 0 to 2 (12 am to 2 am) with reruns and 2 to 7 am with live events.
  • MOV also launched a HD channel in 2008.
  • In the beginning of 2009 the all-native HD SportTV HD started broadcasting.
  • Also in 2009, RTP relaunched RTP HD, now with a different name, RTP1 HD, with regular broadcast.
  • SIC also start test broadcasts in 2009, with UEFA Europa League broadcasts but didn't proceed. They began broadcasting all their channels in HD in October 6, 2016, they day of the 24th anniversary of the first official broadcasts of SIC.
  • Thematic channels, AXN, FOX, FOX Life, TVCine, Syfy Universal, also started their HD broadcasts in 2009.
  • A HD channel was present on Digital Terrestrial Television but has never broadcast.
  • IPTV

    Optimus Clix has launched in 2006 a service called SmarTV (rebranded as Optimus Clix TV), provided on Amino and Motorola STBs, with VoD provided by Kasenna MediaBase video servers. PT Comunicações (Portugal Telecom) has also launched one called MEO, providing that the spin-off of subsidiary PT Multimédia was concluded. Vodafone also launched an IPTV service called Vodafone Casa TV.


    All cable providers in Portugal introduced digital television (DVB-C).


    Digital satellite services have existed since 1998. Currently, the providers are NOS and MEO operating in Hispasat.

    Mobile TV

    All operators had mobile TV under UMTS platforms. It was abandoned in favor of web-TV applications for mobile devices.

    Most-viewed channels

    Monthly viewing shares in February 2017:


    Television in Portugal Wikipedia

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