Digital television penetration reaches 63% in UK

MUMBAI: Digital Television penetration has been estimated to have reached 63 per cent in the UK in the second quarter of 2005, which is up from 61.9 per cent from the previous quarter. This was revealed in a study done by Ofcom.


In addition, 2.8 per cent of households were subscribing to analogue cable, bringing the total receiving some form of multi-channel television to just over 65.8 per cent.


Within these total figures, the key developments in the second quarter of 2005 were:

• The number of digital television households grew by almost 298,000 during the quarter, increasing digital penetration by 1.1 per cent points.

• Freeview (DTT) had another strong quarter of growth with over 700,000 sales of Freeview set top boxes and IDTV’s by the end of Q2. This exceeded the corresponding quarter for 2004, when 496,000 sales were added.

• BSkyB’s subscriber numbers in the UK increased by 75,000 to reach 7,424,000 in the UK at the end of Q2 2005.

• The total number of subscribers to cable television also increased in the quarter to just over 3.3 million. Digital cable increased by over 57,000 in Q2 and now accounts for over 2.6 million of the total.

• The number of households with Freeview (Digital Terrestrial Television) as the only digital platform is estimated to have grown to almost 5,178,000 by the end of June 2005. Up by over 118,000 during the quarter.

• Latest estimates suggest there are also around 492,000 free-to-view digital satellite homes. This figure includes viewers who are no longer Sky subscribers but still receive the public service channels through their set-top box. Also included in this figure are the “Solus” viewers who are able to receive the public service channels through this scheme.

• In total there are now almost 5.7 million free-to-view digital households. (Freeview (DTT), plus free-to-view satellite).

In calculating DTT households, an adjustment has been made to account for the number of households which have digital TV on more than one set. Latest estimates suggest that almost 30 per cent of Freeview boxes are used on secondary sets in households that already have a digital platform, (either Freeview, Sky or cable), on their main set. No adjustment has been made to the Sky or cable figures as these are already shown net of second receivers (e.g. a household with two Sky boxes is only recorded once).

The share of total digital homes across all platforms (both pay and free-to-view) at the end of Q2 2005 was as shown in the graph below:

As far as the sare of digital homes by platform were concerned, the Ofcom report revealed that with all of the digital platforms showing a steady increase during Q2, each platform’s share of all digital homes has remained largely the same.

Apart from that, BSkyB’s share of digital homes showed a slight decrease of 0.5 per cent from 47.7 per cent in Q1 2005 to 47.2 per cent in Q2. BSkyB’s share of pay-television homes remained broadly stable at 69.1 per cent in Q2.

The cable’s share of digital TV homes increased slightly to 6.6 per cent during the quarter. The cable share of the Pay TV market remained largely the same at 30.7 per cent in Q2.

Also, DTT showed a small increase in share of digital TV homes, up to 32.9 per cent by the end of Q2.

The study also revealed that the cable industry as a whole saw an overall increase in total TV subscribers of 13,352 in the UK. The number of digital cable subscribers increased by 57,306, reaching 2,601,354 by the end of Q2 2004 – an increase of 2.25 per cent from Q1 2005.

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