Television

Uptake of digital TV in the UK faster than expected: Ofcom

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MUMBAI: Britain's media regulatory body Ofcom has published its Communications Market: Digital Progress Report for the first quarter of 2006 i.e. January-March.

The report shows that digital television was viewed by 72.5 per cent (18.2 million) UK television per households - up from 69.5 per cent at the end of last year.

The take-up of digital television is growing faster than expected. Ofcom’s last Digital Progress Report had forecast that an extra 1.7 million homes would take-up digital television this year. By the end of March almost 800,000 extra households had already done so.

The number of free-to-view digital households (Freeview plus free-to-view satellite) is estimated to have grown by 9.7 per cent from January to March to over 7.7 million.

Freeview has for the first time overtaken traditional analogue television on primary sets in the home. Almost 7.1 million households have Freeview on the primary television set compared to around 6.4 million who are yet to take-up digital television.

Freeview sales for January to March were up 40 per cent on the same period in 2005 at over 1.2 million, making this the third successive quarter in which sales have exceeded the 1 million mark. Estimates suggest that 38 per cent of Freeview sales are intended for secondary television sets in the home.

Ofcom notes that digital satellite is the UK’s most popular digital television platform viewed by 8.3 million, or 30 per cent of homes of which almost 7.7 million subscribe to BSkyB pay services and 645,000 receive free-to-view satellite services.

Just under one million BSkyB households view pay television on more than one television set through BSkyB’s Multiroom subscription service. The number of cable television households increased slightly over the quarter and is currently just over 3.3 million. Over 70,000 digital cable subscribers were added during the quarter, mainly as a result of analogue subscribers transferring to digital services.

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