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Digital Television Update - 2009 Q3

21 Rhagfyr 2009


1.1 Consumer survey results for the third quarter of 2009, the three months to the end of September, show that take-up of digital television in UK households stood at 89.5%, up by 1.4 percentage points (pp) in a year 1.

1.2 With a majority of main sets now able to receive digital TV, consumers are continuing to convert additional sets in the home. As a result over 67% of all secondary TV sets had been converted to multichannel by the end of Q2, up by around 7 percentage points in a year.

1.3 Taking these figures together, 78% of all TV sets had converted to multichannel television by the end of Q3 2009 (up 6 percentage points on a year ago). The remaining 22% of sets continue to receive analogue terrestrial broadcasts.

Other findings

1.4 Other findings in the third quarter of 2009 include:

  • Sales of DTT enabled equipment in Q3 reached almost 2.9 million units, up by 12% on Q3 2008. Integrated digital television sets (IDTVs) accounted for almost 76% of sales in the quarter (2.2 million units), with around 98% of TV sets sold now including an integrated DTT decoder.
  • Freeview set-top boxes accounted for almost 700,000 sales in the quarter, down 28% on last year. Over the past year around 13.4 million DTT units (IDTVs and set-top-boxes) have been sold, compared to 12.3 million in the previous year, an increase of almost 9%.
  • The number of homes relying on DTT as their sole means of digital TV reception was around 9.7 million in Q3 2009. This figure was similar to take-up a year ago but down by 200,000 on the Q2 survey result. However this reduction is within the error margins for the survey so does not represent a statistically significant fall. Separately, Freeview reported in December that the platform was now the main-set TV service in 10 million homes.
  • Q3 sales data from BBC/ITV freesat show that unit sales had reached over 640,000 by the end of September, up from 450,000 units in Q2. Over three quarters (79%) of freesat decoders sold supported HD services by Q3. According to consumer research results for Q3, almost 700,000 homes claimed to be using some form of free-to-view digital satellite device on their main television set.
  • The Q3 survey also indicated that 9.6 million, or almost 38% of homes, received satellite TV services (either pay or free-to-view), up 1.2 percentage points year on year. Pay satellite accounted for almost 9.0 million homes with free-to-view accounting for nearly 700,000 homes.
  • Around 41% of households (10.4 million) received a free-to-view digital television service on their main set at the end of September; 38.0% had a non-pay DTT service and 2.6% had free-to-view satellite.
  • Research results for Q3 show that 12.4% of homes took cable television. Separately, Virgin Media reported net additions of almost 37,000 TV subscribers, taking its total TV customer base to over 3.7 million for the first time. Digital cable added over 56,000 subscribers in the quarter (including conversions from analogue cable) and accounted for 97% of all cable television customers.

1.5 The following points to note on the platform shares in this report include:

  • 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 may often be recorded primarily as a satellite or cable home by survey respondents.