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Digital Progress Report - 2006 Q1

Q1 2006

Overview

1.1 As at 31 March 2006 Ofcom estimates that 72.5% of UK households, could receive digital TV services, up from 69.5% at 31 December 2005.

1.2 At the same time 2.1% of households subscribed to television services via analogue cable, bringing the total receiving some form of multi-channel television to around 74.6%. Within these figures, the key developments in the first quarter of 2006 were:

  • The number of households able to receive digital TV services rose by over 787,000 to over 18.2 million during Q1.
  • Ofcom estimates that Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) only households grew by 600,000 over the quarter. This means that digital terrestrial households exceeded analogue terrestrial only households for the first time. This growth was fuelled by 1.2 million sales of Freeview set top boxes and Integrated Digital Television sets (IDTVs), exceeding the 860,000 sales for the corresponding period in 2005.
  • On satellite, the number of BSkyB UK subscribers increased by 26,000 to reach almost 7.7 million at the end of Q1 2006. When free-to-view satellite viewers are taken into account, the total number of satellite homes exceeds 8 million.
  • The total number of subscribers to cable television increased slightly during the quarter and currently stands at just over 3.3 million. Analogue cable subscribers fell by 65,000 in the quarter whilst digital cable subscriptions increased by 70,000. Digital cable subscribers now account for almost 2.8 million of the total.
  • Ofcom estimates that the number of households with Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) as the only digital platform had grown to around 7.1 million by the end of March 2006. Whilst all homes using DTT equipment was estimated to be around 8.8 million.
  • Latest estimates suggest there are also around 645,000 free-to-view digital satellite homes. This figure includes viewers who are using satellite equipment to receive the free-to-view channels.
  • In total there are now over 7.7 million free-to-view digital households. (Freeview (DTT), plus free-to-view satellite).

1.3 In calculating the platform totals, DTT homes are defined as those households where DTT is the only digital TV platform. Therefore a household with satellite or cable on the main TV set and DTT on a second set, would be counted primarily as a satellite or cable home. Satellite and cable subscriber figures are already shown net of second receivers (e.g. a household with two Sky boxes is only recorded once).

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