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Ofcom paints picture of UK's digital TV

by Parm Mann on 6 October 2008, 15:13

Tags: Sky+HD, Virgin (NASDAQ:VMED), BBC, ITV, Ofcom, Freesat

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As part of its Communications Market: Digital Progress Report, UK communications regulator Ofcom has revealed its latest digital TV figures.

The report states that 88 per cent of UK households now receive digital TV on their primary set, and over half of users' secondary sets are also thought to have been converted from analog.

Despite the well-publicised credit crunch, the TV market doesn't appear to be in decline. Ofcom's figures indicate quite the opposite - in the second quarter of 2008, BSkyB, Virgin Media and free-to-view services all witnessed a rise in customers.

Between April and June 2008, Ofcom estimates the sale of 1.4 million TVs with built-in Freeview, raising the Freeview install base to 16.7 million.

The UK's free-to-view Satellite market has also shown rapid growth. Services such as freesat and Sky Pay Once now broadcast to around 900,000 users.

In the same period, BSkyB racked up a further 92,000 customers to reach a total of 8.9million. Rival cable service Virgin Media added 24,000 TV customers, bringing its subscriber base up to more than 3.5 million.

With the figures provided, we can see that free-to-view Satellite services have rapidly grown to capture a 3 per cent market share in a relatively short period of time. Freeview and BSkyB, however, remain the most popular choices.

Despite Sky's growth, the report indicates that just 33,000 subscribers were added to its premium Sky+ HD service. The new total of 498,000 HD subscribers accounts for only 5.5 per cent of its total user base.

In contrast, 39,018 freesat services were sold in the second quarter and over 60 per cent were high-definition set-top boxes.

Official press release: Free satellite in 900,000 UK households as Selkirk prepares for Switchover



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