UK broadcast and telecoms regulator Ofcom on Friday published its Digital Television Update for the first quarter of 2005. This examines the latest data provided by the main digital television platform providers.

As at 31 March 2005, dTV penetration was estimated to have reached 61.9% of all UK households - compared with 59.4% in Q4 2004 - an increase of 2.5 percentage points.

Key trends include ...

  • By 31 March 2005, the total number of digital television households grew by 643,517 to 15,417,398.

  • BSkyB added 87,000 subscribers bringing its total number of UK subscribers to 7,349,000 at the end of Q1 2005.
    [Source: BSkyB results, Q1 2005]

  • The number of DTT (digital terrestrial television, aka Freeview) only households saw a strong increase at the end of March 2005, with DTT households now estimated to have passed the 5 million mark for the first time (estimated 5,059,350). This is an increase of 466,430, from 4,592,920 at the end of the previous quarter, December 2004.
    [Source: Freeview Q1 2005 sales figures, GfK market research, Ofcom market estimates]

  • There are now estimated to be over 5.5 million free-to-view digital households. This figure consists of Freeview viewers plus free-to-view digital satellite homes. The total number of homes using free-to-view digital satellite is estimated to be around 445,000. This figure includes viewers who are no longer Sky subscribers but still receive the public service channels through their set-top boxes, as well as 'Solus' card viewers.
    [Source: Ofcom market estimates]

  • The total number of subscribers to cable television (analogue and digital) is now just under 3.3 million. Digital cable increased by just over 30,000 and now accounts for just over 2.5 million of the total.
    [Source: NTL and Telewest Broadband Q1 2005 results]

  • 3% of households continued to subscribe to analogue cable during the first quarter of 2005, bringing the total proportion of households receiving some form of multi-channel television to just over 64.9%.

  • In calculating Digital Terrestrial Television households an adjustment has been made to account for the number of households which have digital TV on more than one set. Latest estimates suggest that 25% of Freeview set-top boxes are in households that already have digital (either Freeview, Sky or cable) on their main set. Sky and cable subscriber figures already account for multi-set users.
To view the full Ofcom Update click here.

Data sourced from Ofcom; additional content by WARC staff