Ofcom restates Freeview take-up figures

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Media regulator Ofcom has revised down its estimate of the number of UK households watching digital terrestrial television (DTT) on their main sets. In June Ofcom's digital TV uptake report said nearly 7.1m homes had Freeview on their primary television set by the end of March.

Ofcom says that estimate was largely based on sales data, but as the market matures and DTT boxes are increasingly purchased to convert second and third TV sets in the homes, Ofcom is now using a GfK survey of 18,000 homes to assess digital take-up. Using that methodology, Ofcom says 6.39m homes were Freeview-only in Q1, a figure that rose to 6.4m at the end of June.

Ofcom is continuing to use subscriber data released by BSkyB and ntl to determine digital satellite and cable take-up, so its Q1 figures are unchanged at 7.69m and 2.79m respectively, and 7.75m and 2.84m at the end of Q2. Ofcom estimates the number of homes watching digital TV via an ADSL connection fell by 3,545 in the second quarter to 45,000.

That takes the total number of UK digital households to 17.7m (70.2%) by the end of June, a rise of 168,155 on the first quarter.

Other key findings:

  • The three months to the end of June 2006 was the fourth consecutive quarter in which sales of DTT equipment (either set-top-boxes or televisions with built-in DTT tuners) exceeded the million mark. DTT sales, at 1.2m for the quarter, were up more than 70% on the same period in 2005.
  • DTT services are now viewed on 19.4% of the UK's 60m television sets, compared to 17.6% in the previous quarter.
  • The number of households viewing DTT services on their primary television set now stands at 6.4m, up 0.2% since Q1 2006. The number of secondary sets used to watch DTT services has more than doubled in the past year and now stands at more than 5m.
  • Digital satellite television remains the most popular digital television platform on primary television sets in UK households. In total 33.4% of UK television homes either subscribe to BSkyB's television services or receive free-to-view satellite services.

Last month Freeview said latest figures from market research group GfK suggested 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.

Lovelace Consulting  |  05.10.2006

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