Frustrated subscribers of Spain's failed digital terrestrial TV (DTT) pay platform Quiero TV are enjoying an unintended consolation. They are currently among the only consumers with the technology to view Spain's two new free-to-air DTT platforms, Net TV and Veo Television, which launched on Tuesday.

After months of complaining about market conditions - including a lack of availability of reasonably priced DTT signal decoders, and soaring, unregulated fees for transmission - Net and Veo were forced to complete their contract with the Spanish government, which granted their licences in November 2000, and begin broadcasting at least 32 hours per week as of June 18.

Until the platforms can reach a greater audience they are not likely to invest in much original content nor lure many advertisers, meaning the immediate financial viability of Net and Veo does not look promising. Net's backers include Prensa Espanola (ABC newspaper), Grupo Arbol/Globomedia, Telson/Cartel, Europroducciones, TFI and SIC, while Veo is backed by Recoletos and Unedisa.

Battered by the international advertising downturn, Spain's TV market is increasingly competitive. Quiero offered testimony to this when it announced last April that it would return its licence to the government and close down, while even the more solid digital satellite pay platforms Via Digital and Canal Satelite Digital recently announced they would merge in order to avoid financial ruin.