Britain's Analogue TV Channels Continue to Lose Share to Digital

14 November 2007

LONDON: Britain's analogue TV channels continued to lose viewing share to their digital equivalents, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

On Tuesday the IPA published its quarterly Trends in Television Viewing report for the June-September period. The body (which represents UK advertising, media and marketing communications agencies) noted that the move to digital had gained momentum from the ongoing national switchover campaign.

This began for real last month with the termination of the analogue signal in north-western England, a move that will roll-out progressively across the whole of the British Isles by 2012.

Meantime the trend to digital continues to accelerate.

With the exception of ITV1, which remained stable with 18.8% of the national audience, other analogue channels BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4 and Five all lost viewers during the quarter - in most cases to their digital döppelgangers.

BBC1 saw the biggest drop in the period - down more than 4% to 21.3% total viewing.

In contrast, what the IPA mysteriously refers to as "non-terrestrial channels" (despite their digital transmitters remaining resolutely rooted to Mother Earth) recorded major gains.

As did cable operator Virgin Media and the nation's sole "non-terrestrial" (ie satellite) platform BSkyB.

Digital reception is now available to 78% of all homes and, at 40% penetration, digital terrestrial (sic) remains the fastest growing platform, driven by the take-up of Freeview. Average viewing now stands at 3.38 hours per day.

Comments IPA research director Lynne Robinson: "It is encouraging to see continued growth in the television market."

The full IPA report can be viewed by clicking here.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff