British Digital TV Viewers Outnumber Analogue

02 November 2004

Ofcom, the UK government's media and telecoms regulatory agency, reports the rise and rise of digital television across the nation in its latest Communications Market Quarterly Update.

In the quarter ended 30 September, digital-only TV channels accounted in aggregate for a greater share of viewing than any of the main analogue channels individually; 26% compared to 24.9% for BBC1 for the second quarter.

This is seen as a watershed - the first time that digital TV has out-pulled traditional channels.

Other TV milestones were ...

  • At the end of June 2004, more than 55% of UK households received digital television.

  • Freeview (BBC-backed free-to-view digital terrestrial television) was the largest contributor to growth, adding more than 400,000 households in the second quarter of 2004.

  • The main five terrestrial channels account for more than 80% of viewing in the South West of England but only just over 65% in Wales .

  • In the three months to June 2004, both BBC1 and BBC2 received their greatest share of viewing in the South West of England.

  • ITV1's share of viewing exceeded BBC1 in Northern Ireland and the Scottish Borders but was less in every other region.

    The update also reports that the UK has, for the first time, overtaken Germany in broadband [ADSL] penetration - although it still lags other European nations.

    By the end of June 2004 the UK had 7.5 connections per hundred population compared to 6.1 in Spain, 6.3 in Italy, 6.4 in Portugal, 6.7 in Germany, 8.3 in France, 12.1 in Sweden, 15.8 in the Netherlands and 15.6 in Denmark.

    Data sourced from Ofcom (UK); additional content by WARC staff