Freeview Britons Rise to 1.6m

11 June 2003

New research shows no let-up in the startling growth of British digital TV platform Freeview.

Up to 1.6 million homes now have access to Freeview, which is backed by the BBC, BSkyB and Crown Castle Communications. This total is much higher than the 1.2m subscribers garnered by its defunct digital terrestrial forerunner ITV Digital – though this is something of a false comparison as Freeview is boosted by several hundred thousand former ITVd customers able to watch via the extinct platform’s digi-boxes.

Regardless, Freeview’s growth since its October launch is impressive, with 800,000 digital tuners sold in the last eight months.

According to a poll of 1,000 Freeview viewers by the BBC and Dixons Group, the lack of any contract is the platform’s biggest draw. Unlike ITVd or other digital offerings, Freeview does not involve a monthly subscription, but instead offers a range of channels for free after a one-off payment for the digi-box.

Around 65% of the survey’s participants cited the absence of any contract as their chief reason for choosing Freeview, with 31% mentioning the one-off payment. The survey, argues BBC marketing director Andy Duncan, shows the platform is “attracting a lot of our audience who would not have previously considered digital.”

In addition, the study found that Freeview tends to attract an older viewer. Around 40% its audience are aged 55 or over, while 74% are over 35.

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