Freeview narrows Sky's lead in UK DTV

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Freeview, the UK's free-to-view digital terrestrial television platform, is chasing Sky's heels in the UK digital television market. Latest figures from market research group GfK suggest 1.1m Freeview set-top boxes and TVs were sold in the second quarter of 2006, leaving Freeview the primary source of digital television in 7.8m UK households (31% of total homes).

Sky reported in July that by the end of June it had 7,749,000 direct-to-home UK subscribers, though Ofcom figures indicate there were a further 645,000 free-to-view digital satellite homes at the end of March, leaving the total number of satellite households at around 8.4m.

Freeview general manager Cary Wakefield said: "Freeview is now the number one choice for households switching to digital and we're delighted to confirm our continuing success.

"Freeview offers a fantastic channel line-up, with Film4 recently launched and Five US and Five Life to be added shortly, all for no subscription. We can only expect Freeview's popularity to continue to grow and we look forward to becoming the nation's favourite way to watch television."

Last month market forecaster Datamonitor said the UK's continuing progress towards digital switchover would see Freeview overtake BSkyB in popularity in 2008. That contradicted a forecast earlier this summer from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which announced that Freeview would overtake Sky before the end of 2006.

In June Ofcom released figures showing that Freeview had overtaken analogue television on primary sets in the home.

Lovelace Consulting  |  12.09.2006

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