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15 December 2004

Second set adoption leads digital television growth: Ofcom

Ofcom has published its Digital Television Update for the third quarter of 2004.
The report examines the latest subscriber figures provided by the main platform operators. The update shows that increasing numbers of UK households that have at least one television receiving digital broadcasts are buying additional set top boxes to convert second sets in the same household.
For example, overall sales of Freeview continue to increase – but around a quarter of new sales are going to homes that have already switched. This emerging change in purchasing patterns means that in the most recent quarter, the net increase in digital television penetration per household has risen to slightly under 56%.
Key trends include: By 30 September 2004, digital television penetration increased to 13,858,901. This represents an increase in overall penetration of 2.1%, with an additional 560,000 households adopting digital television during the quarter; Freeview (Digital Terrestrial Television) uptake increased with the total number of households receiving Freeview at the end of September estimated to be nearly four million (3,915,000) households. [Source: Freeview Q3 sales figures]; Sky’s UK subscriber base continued to grow, adding 53,000 subscribers during the quarter, bringing its total number of subscribers to over seven million (7,085,000). [Source: Sky results, Q3 2004]; The total number of subscribers to cable television (both digital and analogue) remains at around 3.36 million, of which digital cable accounts for just over 2.5 million. [Source: ntl and Telewest Broadband Q3 results]; The total number of free-to-view digital homes is now more than 4.2 million, an increase of 12.5% from the previous quarter. This figure comprises the number of viewers using Freeview, those using satellite ‘Solus’ cards and ex-Sky subscribers, who continue to use their satellite box for viewing free-to-view channels. [Source: Freeview Q3 sales figures, Sky Q3 results, Channel 4 data, and Ofcom market estimates]; A further 3.5% of households subscribed to analogue cable during the quarter, bringing the total number of households receiving some form of multi-channel television to 59.4% by 30 September.
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