Digital Television Update - 2003 Q3

11 June 2004

ITC Multichannel Quarterly - Q3 2003

The ITC's Multichannel Quarterly reports every three months on the take-up of both analogue and digital multichannel television in the UK. As far as possible, the data in this report is based upon the latest figures provided by the platform operators. However, it is also necessary to rely on some estimated figures. For free-to-air penetration for example, data from third party sources and the ITC's own view of the market has been used to compile this report.

From the 29th of December the existing duties of the ITC, together with those of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Oftel, the Radio Authority and the Radiocommunications Agency will pass to Ofcom, which will also fulfil the additional duties enacted in the provisions laid down in the Communications Act 2003.

While the precise format of future reports is yet to be determined Ofcom will continue to provide a quarterly summary of key multi-channel statistics.

Executive Summary:

By 30 September 2003 multichannel and digital TV penetration were estimated to have reached 51% and 47% of UK households, respectively. Within these total figures, the key developments were:

  • The total number of digital television households grew by 3% over the quarter, with an additional 380,000 going digital during the quarter.
  • Sky's UK subscriber numbers increased to 6,718,000 by the end of Q3 2003.
  • Freeview also saw an increase, with household numbers estimated to have grown to 1,900,000 in the same period.
  • In addition to Freeview households, latest estimates suggest there are over 800,000 free to air digital satellite homes. This means that in total there are now more than 2.7 million free to air digital households.
  • The total number of subscribers to cable television rose by 17,000, a rise in digital cable subscriber numbers of almost 60,000 more than offsetting a decline in analogue cable subscribers

Note: This report does not take into consideration platform overlap. In other words, all households are considered to be discrete multichannel units. This issue is something which Ofcom will seek to address in more detail in  future reports.

Full report

Digital Television Update 2003 Q3 (PDF, 151.2 KB)