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Digital Television Update - 2008 Q3

16 Rhagfyr 2008

Overview

1.1 Survey results for the three months to the end of September 2008 show that take-up of multichannel television on main sets in UK households has remained relatively stable over the quarter at 88.2%, up by 0.2 percentage points (pp) from 88.0% in Q2, and up by 3.1 pp year-on-year.

1.2 With a majority of main sets now able to receive digital TV, many consumers are now converting additional sets in the home; 60% of all secondary TV sets had been converted to multichannel by the end of Q3, up by 5 percentage points on Q2.

1.3 Taking these figurestogether, the proportion of all TV sets converted to multichannel reached 72% in Q3 2008, (up 3pp quarter-on-quarter), with the remaining 28% receiving analogue terrestrial broadcasts. Over the last twelve months, the proportion of multichannel sets has increased by 11 percentage points, up from 61% in Q3 2007.

Other findings

1.4 Other findings in the third quarter of 2008 include:

  • Almost 2.5 million digital terrestrial television (DTT) devices were sold during the period, 4% more than in Q3 2007. Integrated digital television sets (IDTVs) accounted for almost 1.6 million units - up 33% on twelve months ago - while set-top boxes accounted for almost 0.9 million. Over the past year more than 11.8 million DTT units have been sold, compared to around 8.6 million in the previous year.
  • DTT-only households accounted for almost a fifth of all growth in multichannel main sets in Q3, rising by around 22,000, with over 9.7 million homes now relying solely on DTT for multichannel viewing.
  • Q3 sales data for BBC/ITV freesat show that unit sales had reached almost 108,000 by the end of September, (up from 39,000 units in Q2). According to consumer research results for Q3 around 600,000 homes claimed to be using some form of free-to-view digital satellite. This was down from the Q2 figure of over 800,000, but this is more likely a result of survey fluctuations arising due to the smaller sample size in this area.
  • We estimate that over 9.3 million (36%) homes received satellite TV services (either pay or free-to-view) in Q3. Pay satellite homes accounted for almost 8.8m (93%) of these with free-to-view making up the remainder.
  • Almost 41% of households (around 10.4 million) now have some form of free-to-view digital television, with 38.1% using DTT and 2.5% free-to-view satellite) on their main set.
  • Cable was the primary viewing platform in 12.8% of homes in Q3 up by 0.3pp on Q2. Virgin Media reported net additions of almost 38,000 new subscribers taking their total subscriber base to approaching 3.6 million. Digital cable added over 54,000 subscribers in the quarter (including conversions from analogue cable) and now accounts for around 95% of all cable television customers.

1.5 We have made the following assumptions in this report:

  • In calculating platform totals, DTT-only homes are defined as those where DTT is the only multichannel television platform in the home. (Figures for homes which have DTT as well as another platform are included in Sections 2 and 3 of the report).
  • A household with either a satellite or cable subscription in addition to DTT equipment is counted primarily as a satellite or cable home.

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