[opendtv] Freeview in Digital Top 10

  • From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: OpenDTV Mail List <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2004 08:17:47 -0500

Two stories from Advanced-Television.com

=46reeview breaks into digital top 10

UK digital terrestrial service Freeview has=20
broken into the top 10 digital TV operators=20
worldwide, according to recent findings from IMS=20
Research. In its new report, The Digital Plans of=20
the Top TV Operators, IMS Research compiled=20
profiles of the top TV operators worldwide, based=20
upon total subscribers.

  "While at this time Freeview is a unique case,=20
it has proven that it is possible for DTT to go=20
head to head against cable and satellite=20
operators," commented Jack Mayo, market analyst=20
at IMS Research.

  IMS Research forecasts Worldwide DTT households=20
to grow to 15.5 million in 2005. IMS Research=20
estimates that DTT accounted for only 3.9 per=20
cent of the total worldwide digital TV households=20
in 2003. By 2009, however, IMS Research=20
anticipates DTT to account for 19.8 per cent of=20
the worldwide digital TV households.

  US digital satellite platform DirecTV tops IMS's=20
rankings with 11.14 million digital subscribers,=20
ahead of US rival EchoStar's dish network on=20
9.785 million, with Comcast Cable's 8 million=20
subscribers heading the cable sector. BSkyB is=20
Europe's leading digital operator with 7.274=20
million. IMS suggest that Freeview's 3.5 million=20
subscribers place it ninth.

UK communications regulator Ofcom released=20
figures December 14 that suggest that Freeview=20
household numbers have grown to around 3.915=20
million by the end of November.


UK: second sets lead digital growth

  Ofcom has published its Digital Television=20
Update for the third quarter of 2004. The report=20
examines the latest subscriber figures provided=20
by the main platform operators. The Update shows=20
that increasing numbers of UK households that=20
have at least one television receiving digital=20
broadcasts are buying additional set top boxes to=20
convert second sets in the same household. For=20
example, overall sales of Freeview continue to=20
increase - but around a quarter of new sales are=20
going to homes that have already switched. This=20
emerging change in purchasing patterns means that=20
in the most recent quarter, the net increase in=20
digital television penetration per household has=20
risen to 56%.
  Key trends include:

  * By 30 September 2004, digital television=20
penetration increased to 13,858,901. This=20
represents an increase in overall penetration of=20
2.1%, with an additional 560,000 households=20
adopting digital television during the quarter.

  * Freeview (Digital Terrestrial Television)=20
uptake increased with the total number of=20
households receiving Freeview at the end of=20
September estimated to be nearly four million=20
(3,915,000) households. [Source: Freeview Q3=20
sales figures]

  * Sky's UK subscriber base continued to grow,=20
adding 53,000 subscribers during the quarter,=20
bringing its total number of subscribers to over=20
seven million (7,085,000). [Source: Sky results,=20
Q3 2004]

  * The total number of subscribers to cable=20
television (both digital and analogue) remains at=20
around 3.36 million, of which digital cable=20
accounts for just over 2.5 million. [Source: ntl=20
and Telewest Broadband Q3 results]

  * The total number of free-to-view digital homes=20
is now more than 4.2 million, an increase of=20
12.5% from the previous quarter. This figure=20
comprises the number of viewers using Freeview,=20
those using satellite =91Solus_ cards and ex-Sky=20
subscribers, who continue to use their satellite=20
box for viewing free-to-view channels. [Source:=20
=46reeview Q3 sales figures, Sky Q3 results,=20
Channel 4 data, and Ofcom market estimates]

  * A further 3.5% of households subscribed to=20
analogue cable during the quarter, bringing the=20
total number of households receiving some form of=20
multi-channel television to 59.4% by 30=20
September.Meanwhile, DAB digital radio set sales=20
are expected to top 1m by year end. But the=20
Guardian reported that the BBC wants the=20
government to wait another three years before=20
deciding when to switch off the analogue signal -=20
making listeners convert to digital radio. The=20
report said that although digital radio was=20
proving successful, the country was not ready for=20
the switchover, and said setting a date now would=20
alarm consumers and unsettle the market.

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