Digital Television Update - 2008 Q4
Survey results for the three months to the end of December 2008 show that take-up of multichannel television on main sets in UK households increased over the quarter to 88.9%, up by 0.7 percentage points (pp) from 88.2% in Q3, and up by 2.4 pp year-on-year.
With a majority of main sets now able to receive digital TV, many consumers are now converting additional sets in the home; just over 60% of all secondary TV sets had been converted to multichannel by the end of Q4, up by around 11 percentage points in a year.
Taking these figures together, 72% of all TV sets had converted to multichannel television by the end of Q4 2008 (up 7.3 percentage points on a year ago and up by 0.3pp quarter-on-quarter) The remaining 28% of sets continue to receive analogue terrestrial broadcasts.
Other findings in the fourth quarter of 2008 include:
- Q4 saw the highest sales of DTT enabled equipment in any quarter, with almost 4.5 million units sold, up by 5.9% on Q4 2007. This was largely driven by record sales of IDTVs during the run-up to Christmas, with nearly 3.1 million units sold, up by almost 34% year on year.
- Freeview set-top boxes accounted for over 1.4 million sales, down 27.0% on last year. Over the past year around 12.5 million DTT units have been sold, compared to around 10.6 million in the previous year.
- DTT-only households (free and pay) rose by around 85,000 in Q4, with over 9.8 million homes now relying solely on DTT for multichannel viewing.
- Q4 sales data for BBC/ITV Freesat show that unit sales had reached almost 233,000 by the end of December, up from 108,000 units in Q3. According to consumer research results for Q4, around 600,000 homes claimed to be using some form of free-to-view digital satellite.
- Approaching 9.5 million (37%) homes received satellite TV services (either pay or free-to-view) by the end of 2008. Pay satellite homes accounted for almost 8.9 million (94%) of these with free-to-view making up the remainder.
- Almost 40% of households (around 10.1 million) now have some form of free-to-view digital television, with 36.9% using non-pay DTT and 2.3% free-to-view satellite on their main set.
- Research results for Q4 show that cable was the primary viewing platform in 12.8% of homes, broadly in line with the Q3 figure. Separately, Virgin Media reported net additions of almost 44,500 new subscribers, taking their total TV customer base to over 3.6 million. Digital cable added over 61,100 subscribers in the quarter (including conversions from analogue cable) and now accounts for around 96% of all cable television customers.
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.