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 many 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).
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 were 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 FTA only in the Madeira and Azores Autonomous Regions), two are from private broadcasters (SIC and TVI) and one is owned by the Assembly of the Republic and broadcasts parliamentary sessions (like BBC Parliament).
List of free-to-air terrestrial channels
- ARtv (Portugal): a public TV channel that broadcasts the sessions of Assembly of the Republic. The least watched terrestrial channel in Portugal.
- 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 from 2001 to 2006, 2008, and again from 2011 to present. In the 37 years since its inception in 1957, it was the most watched channel in Portugal until 1995 when SIC overtook it, putting it at second place until 2001 (and again in 2007 and from 2009 to 2010).
- 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.
- 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: The 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. It was the second most watched channel for 13 years (save for 2007, 2009, and 2010 when it was at third place) until 2019, when it overtook TVI for the number 1 position. Prior to that, SIC was number 1 from 1995 to 2004, breaking RTP1's long-standing lead.
- TVI: The 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. For over 13 years since 2005 (when it overtook the once-dominant SIC), it reigned as the most watched channel in Portugal before relinquishing the position again to SIC in 2019.
- RTP Açores: Regional Public broadcaster broadcasting only in Azores.
- RTP Madeira: Regional Public broadcaster broadcasting only in Madeira.
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 on 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.
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).
All operators had mobile TV under UMTS platforms. It was abandoned in favor of web-TV applications for mobile devices.
Monthly viewing shares in August 2021:
|Position||Channel||Group (Owner)||Share of|
|8||FOX||Fox Networks Group Portugal||1.4%|
|13||FOX Movies||Fox Networks Group Portugal||1.1%|
|14||FOX Life||Fox Networks Group Portugal||1.0%|
|Other Cable / Watched in deferred / Non TV content||31.0%|
Most watched shows
|1||UEFA Euro 2004||Portugal vs The Netherlands (semi-final)||40.9||87.2%||30 June 2004||RTP1|
|2||UEFA Euro 2012||Portugal vs Spain (semi-final)||39.5||76.0%||27 June 2012||SIC|
|3||UEFA Euro 2004||Portugal vs England (quarter-final)||39.0||85.1%||24 June 2004||RTP1|
|4||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs Wales (semi-final)||38.4||75.4%||6 July 2016||RTP1|
|5||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs France (final)||38.2||78.1%||10 July 2016||RTP1|
|6||UEFA Euro 2012||Portugal vs The Netherlands (group stage match)||38.1||73.4%||17 June 2012||TVI|
|7||2014 FIFA World Cup||United States vs Portugal (group stage match)||37.8||75.4%||22 June 2014||RTP1|
|8||UEFA Euro 2004||Portugal vs Greece (final)||37.7||89.7%||4 July 2004||RTP1|
|9||UEFA Euro 2016||Poland vs Portugal (quarter-final)||37.4||69.9%||30 June 2016||RTP1|
|10||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs France (semi-final)||37.2||82.3%||5 July 2006||SIC|
|11||A Próxima Vítima||Last Episode (Brazilian telenovela)||37.1||80.2%||19 January 1996||SIC|
|12||UEFA Euro 2012||Czech Republic vs Portugal (quarter-final)||36.1||71.7%||21 June 2012||RTP1|
|13||UEFA Euro 2004||Russia vs Portugal (group stage match)||35.5||81.4%||16 June 2004||SIC|
|14||UEFA Euro 2016||Portugal vs Iceland (group stage match)||35.1||68.6%||14 June 2016||RTP1|
|15||UEFA Euro 2004||Spain vs Portugal (group stage match)||34.9||83.2%||20 June 2004||TVI|
|16||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs The Netherlands (round of 16)||34.9||80.7%||25 June 2006||SIC|
|17||UEFA Euro 2008||Portugal vs Germany (quarter-finals)||34.5||75.6%||19 June 2008||TVI|
|18||2015 Portuguese legislative election||Debate: António Costa vs. Pedro Passos Coelho||34.1||66%||10 September 2015||RTP1, SIC, TVI|
|19||2014 FIFA World Cup qualification||Sweden vs Portugal (second leg playoff match)||34.1||62.2%||19 November 2013||RTP1|
|20||UEFA Europa League||SL Benfica vs Chelsea FC (final)||33.8||62.3%||16 May 2013||SIC|
|21||UEFA Euro 2000||France vs Portugal (semi-finals)||33.2||76.7%||28 June 2000||RTP1|
|22||2006 FIFA World Cup||Angola vs Portugal (group stage match)||32.8||80.9%||11 June 2006||SIC|
|23||UEFA Euro 2012||Germany vs Portugal (group stage match)||32.4||68.3%||9 June 2012||RTP1|
|24||UEFA Champions League||Monaco vs Porto (final)||31.7||70.5%||26 May 2004||RTP1|
|25||UEFA Euro 2016||Croatia vs Portugal (Round of 16)||31.3||70%||26 June 2016||RTP1|
|26||UEFA Europa League||Sevilla FC vs SL Benfica (final)||31.1||61.4%||14 May 2014||SIC|
|27||UEFA Champions League||Real Madrid vs Atlético Madrid (final)||30.8||64.3%||24 May 2014||TVI|
|28||Terra Nostra||Last Episode (Brazilian telenovela)||30.8||64%||11 January 2000||SIC|
|29||2006 FIFA World Cup||Portugal vs Iran||30.4||83.1%||17 June 2006||SIC|
|30||UEFA Europa League||Juventus FC vs SL Benfica (semi-final)||30.4||58.9%||1 May 2014||SIC|
|31||Big Brother Portugal||Live eviction show||30.2||72.5%||26 December 2000||TVI|
|32||UEFA Cup||Sporting CP vs CSKA Moscow (Final)||30.1||68.4%||18 May 2005||RTP1|
|33||Taça de Portugal||SL Benfica vs Sporting CP (Sixth round)||29.9||62.6%||26 January 2005||RTP1|
|34||Torre de Babel||Last Episode (Brazilian telenovela)||29.8||77.1%||2 April 1999||SIC|
|35||UEFA Euro 2008||Switzerland vs Portugal||29.8||71.8%||15 June 2008||TVI|
|36||UEFA Cup||Celtic FC vs FC Porto||29.7||67.5%||21 May 2003||SIC|
|37||2006 FIFA World Cup||Germany vs Portugal (Third place play-off)||29.6||78.4%||8 July 2006||SIC|
|38||2006 FIFA World Cup||England vs Portugal (quarter-finals)||29.2||88.1%||1 July 2006||SIC|
|39||UEFA Champions League||Barcelona vs Benfica(quarter-finals)||29.3||65.6%||5 April 2006||RTP1|
|40||2010 FIFA World Cup||Spain vs Portugal (Round of 16)||29.1||75.9%||29 June 2010||RTP1|
|47||Médico de Família(source: Sociedade Independente de Comunicação)||(Last Episode) Portuguese TV series (Most watched Portuguese TV production - all genres / formats(source: Sociedade Independente de Comunicação)||27.9(source: Sociedade Independente de Comunicação)||61.4%(source: Sociedade Independente de Comunicação)||16 March 1999 (source: Sociedade Independente de Comunicação)||SIC (source: Sociedade Independente de Comunicação)|
- List of Portuguese language television channels
- List of television stations in Portugal
- Media of Portugal
- List of newspapers in Portugal
- List of radio stations in Portugal
- Telecommunications in Portugal
- Official site of the Entidade Reguladora para a Comunicação Social (in Portuguese)
- Audiencias TV Agosto 2021
- "Audiências de programas antigos". Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Juventus-Benfica une quase 3 milhes em frente ao ecr - TV & Media - DN". DN. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "TVI leva concorrência a mínimos com a final da "Liga dos Campeões"". A Televisão. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- "Porto mobiliza audiência". Marktest.com. Marktest. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Audiências Tv em Janeiro". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Audiências Tv em Maio". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Audiências Tv em Julho de 2006". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Audiências Tv em Junho de 2010". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Debate entre Passos e Costa com audiência histórica de 3,4 milhões". Retrieved 10 September 2015.
- "Audiência recorde para o Portugal-França". Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- Nelson Traquina (1995). "Portuguese Television: The Politics of Savage Deregulation". Media, Culture & Society. 17.