Digital Television Update - 2004 Q2

17 September 2004

This is the third of Ofcom's Digital Television Update quarterly reports, which supersede the ITC's Multichannel Quarterly reports. 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.

By 30 June 2004 digital TV penetration was estimated to have reached over 55% of UK households, up from 53% at 31 March 2004.

In addition a further 4% of households were subscribing to analogue cable, bringing the total receiving some form of multi-channel television to over 59%. Within these total figures, the key developments were:

The total number of digital television households grew by 630,000 over the quarter, increasing digital penetration by 2.4%.

Sky's subscriber numbers are now over seven million, reaching 7,032,000 in the UK at the end of Q2 2004.

Freeview (Digital Terrestrial Television) also saw an increase, with household numbers estimated to have grown to around 3,889,000 in the same period.

Latest estimates suggest there are also around 305,000 free-to-view digital satellite homes. This figure includes viewers who are no longer Sky subscribers but still receive the public service channels through their set-top box. Also included in this figure are the "Solus" viewers who are able to receive the public service channels through this scheme.

In total there are now almost 4.2 million free to air digital households. (Freeview (DTT) plus free to view satellite).

The total number of subscribers to cable television is estimated to have increased slightly and is now around 3.36 million, of which digital cable now accounts for almost 2.47 million.

An adjustment has been made to account for the number of households which have digital on more than one set. Ofcom estimates that 15% of sales of Freeview adapters in the last quarter were bought for use on second sets by people who already have digital (either Freeview, Sky or cable) on their main set. Sky and cable subscriber figures already account for multi set users.

Full report

Digital Television Update - Q2 2004 (PDF, 295.4 KB)