UK's Freeview+ Sales Up In The Downturn

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 
Freeview logo

Freeview today announced that sales of Freeview+ boxes have reached over 900,000, up 118% compared to December last year*. 26% of all sales were achieved in a record final quarter, and throughout December, more than two Freeview+ boxes were bought every minute.

Take-up of Freeview, the UK’s most popular digital TV service, continues to grow indicating that Freeview’s ability to deliver quality, subscription-free TV is of huge value to consumers particularly in the current economic downturn. More than 17.2 million** homes are enjoying the benefits of viewing 13 of the 15 most-watched channels without having to pay for them and Freeview+ saves viewers more than £200 in the first year alone compared to the subscription alternatives.

This growth is expected to continue as consumers rein in their expenditure in 2009 – recent research*** highlighted one in five plans to curtail spending on pay TV channels – and as another five million homes go through digital switchover in the next twelve months, with Freeview+ providing the most cost-effective recording solution for a digital age.

Freeview+ was given a boost with a national TV ad campaign that launched in November 2008. Throughout the campaign period****, sales increased by an average of 150% year-on-year and Freeview’s website traffic increased by 80% during the first month alone. The ads celebrated the functionality of Freeview+ and featured a host of British TV talent including Coronation Street’s Antony Cotton, Jennie McAlpine and Tupele Dorgu, comedian Alan Carr and Chef Gordon Ramsay.

Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview, said: “The popularity of Freeview+ isn’t surprising given that it offers outstanding value – giving the same experience as ‘+’ recorders from other providers, the only difference is it’s free from subscription.”

“During a downturn, TV viewing naturally increases as people choose to stay in and watch TV as a form of free entertainment. We know that Freeview is an extremely compelling proposition of high quality, subscription free, digital TV, but Freeview+ is adding a new dimension to people’s viewing experience, allowing them to take control of what they watch and when they watch it. More than half of Freeview+ users tell us they can’t live without it.”

With over 60 models to choose from, including boxes with integrated DVD recorders/players and Freeview+ built into digital TVs, Freeview+ offers the biggest range of digital TV recorders available today. Viewers can pause, record and rewind their favourite TV shows without having to pay a monthly subscription.

In the first of Freeview’s new channel launches in 2009, CNN International is now available on channel 84 bringing viewers world news, every night from 9pm to 1am. Discovery Networks UK also plans to launch a new channel in the coming months.

Howling concludes, “These new additions to the Freeview channel portfolio, coupled with the roll out of Freeview HD across the UK from the end of 2009 is an exciting prospect for Freeview viewers and gives them even more value in the tough climate.”

* GfK: 927,300 cumulative sales, end December 2008
** Ofcom, Q3 2008 Digital TV report
*** Continental Research, August 2008
**** ATL Campaign Period: November & December 2008