A survey by BMRB of Britain's 8.5 million digital TV homes (35% of all households), reveals that customer dissatisfaction with ITV Digital has reached epidemic proportions, nearly one fifth of respondents expressing disappointment with the service.

Customer churn is also a major headache for the broadcaster, jointly owned by ITV’s dominant duo, Carlton Communications and Granada Media. A staggering seventeen per cent of ITV Digital customers told BMRB they are planning to switch either to BSkyB or cable providers. In comparison, a mere 3% of Sky subscribers and 11% of cable users expressed a similar intention.

In terms of market share, BSkyB continues to dominate with 68% of all digital TV households – several lengths ahead of the cable companies (20%) and ITV Digital with 12%. The number of digital viewers new to multichannel TV (almost 48% ) also continues to increase, up by one third year-on-year.

Although the watching of terrestrial channels – BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – remains more popular than digital and cable alternatives, a third of respondents claim they now view less terrestrial TV than before going digital. Over half the BMRB sample now watch television for more hours than previously.

ITV Digital can at least gain one crumb of comfort. The survey showed that its rebranding from ONdigital to ITV Digital [WAMN: 20-Jul-01] was successfully communicated to 89% of its customer base.

News source: Media Week (UK)