Spanish digital satellite platform Via Digital has announced that it has reached the half million mark in subscribers. Still trailing rival Canal Satelite Digital (CSD) by more than 300,000 subscribers, Via's numbers reflect a remarkable 70.5% rate of growth over the last 12 months.

Via claims its market share has grown from 25.1% in March, 1998 to 36.2% this month. The platform's most watched channel is Gran Via, which broadcasts a mix of football, cinema and bullfights.

As Via Digital becomes more competitive, rumours of a potential merger with CSD abound. Both platforms denied rumours earlier this month that Via backer Telefonica was negotiating a 92.5% buy-out of Grupo Prisa-owned CSD.