UK's Freeview TV Platform Will Overtake BSkyB by Year End

16 June 2006

The quarterly Trends in TV report published by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising - the official body representing British advertising, media and marketing communications agencies - reveals that terrestrial digital TV (dTTV) viewing continues to rise dramatically and will this year overtake satellite TV as the most popular TV platform in UK homes.

DTTV recorded an 8.3% year-on-year increase in market share, and now serves 27.3% of all UK households, closing fast on satellite's 31.5% share, up by just 2% year-on-year.

Assuming dTTV continues to increase its market share by 2% per quarter, as it did in 2005, it will overtake the News Corporation-controlled satellite monopoly BSkyB by Q4 2006.

Key findings of the latest Trends in TV report are . . .

  • The UK continues to embrace digital television in all its forms and is now present in two thirds of TV households: 31.5% have satellite, up from 25.3% in Q1 2003; 27.3% have dTTV, up from 3.5% over the same period; and 10.9% have cable, up from 10%. Analogue now accounts for 33.8%.

  • Channel 4 bucks the downward trend of major channels to record increase in audience share, increasing from 9.7% in Q1 2005 to 10% in Q1 2006.

  • The other four main channels all lost audience share, BBC1 is down from 23.7% to 22.4%, BBC2 is down from 9.6% to 9.4%, ITV is down from 22.3% to 20.6% and Channel 5 is down from 6.4% to 5.9% (Q1 2005 to Q1 2006).

  • Since Q1 2000 all five main channels have lost share of viewers: BBC1 had 27.8%, BBC2 had 10.7%, ITV had 30.2%, Channel 4 had 10.6% and Channel 5 had 5.6%.

  • Viewers continues to switch over to non-terrestrial channels, now accounting for 32% of all TV viewed, up from 28% in Q1 2005 and 24% in Q1 2004 and 22.8% in Q1 2003.

  • The population watched on average 3.89 hours of television per day in Q1 2006, slightly lower than those reported for most previous first quarters.
But time is running out for the 33% of UK homes that have thus far declined to follow the digital trend.

Says IPA Media Futures Group chairman Jim Marshall: "With around two years until the start of analogue switchoff, it's worrying that a third of UK homes have still chosen not to 'go digital'. This could represent a serious challenge to the government's plans for analogue switch off."

To view the IPA report in full click here.

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff