Video on Demand (VoD) services in Europe rose by a staggering 82% in 2007. That is the finding of a new EU survey by the published by the European Audiovisual Observatory and the French Government's Media Development Department.

By the end of 2007, a total of 258 VoD services were in operation across 24 European countries, compared to only 142 services in December 2006.

The survey reveals that the huge upsurge is mainly due to an increase in the number of television channels offering a free catch-up TV service, normally via their own website.

Such services typically allow viewers to view programmes for several days after transmission. Of the 84 catch-up services across Europe, almost three quarters (62) are delivered by the internet.

France retains its 2006 position at the top of the table as the European country with the highest level of VoD provision. It now has 32 services compared to 20 at the end of 2006.

The Netherlands and Germany are its closest rivals with 30 and 26 services, respectively. Together, the three countries are responsible for almost a third of Europe's VoD services.

The other two spots in the top five of VoD service providers is completed by Sweden and the UK with 16 services each. Turkey and Luxembourg are at the bottom of the table with one and two services each respectively, but both are new entrants, neither having had any VoD services in 2006.

A breakdown of provision shows that the internet is the most common means of delivery, with 74% of services being delivered this way. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is the second most common form of delivery, but falls a long way behind at 26%. A further 10% of services come with cable packages.

As in previous years, satellite (8%) and digital terrestrial television (1%) account for only a small percentage of delivery.