Ofcom releases 2Q 2010 UK Digital Television Update

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
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Consumer survey results from Ofcom for the second quarter of 2010 show that take-up of digital television in UK households stood at 92.7%, up by 2.9 percentage points year on year.

Consumers are continuing to convert additional sets in the home. Almost 71% of all secondary TV sets had been converted to digital by the end of June 2010, up by one percentage point in a year but up 16 percentage points from two years ago.

Taking these figures together, 80% of all TV sets had converted to digital television by the end of Q2 2010 (this figure was stable year on year owing to a ‘spike’ in the Q2 2009 figure, but was up 11pp on two years previously). The remaining 20% of sets continue to receive analogue terrestrial broadcasts.

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)

DTT equipment quarterly sales:

(actuals)                                 Q2 2009    Q3 2009    Q4 2009    Q1 2010    Q2 2010
                                        ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------
Freeview set-top boxes                    684,600    696,360  1,247,000    855,000    724,000
Integrated Digital Televisions (IDTVs)  2,004,694  2,154,600  3,491,000  2,540,000  2,341,000
Total sales                             2,689,294  2,850,960  4,738,000  3,395,000  3,065,000
DTT DVR sales*                            213,600    203,805    329,000    207,000    153,000
  • Sales of DTT-enabled equipment reached almost 3.1 million units in Q2, up by 14% on Q2 2009. Integrated digital television sets (IDTVs) accounted for over 76% of sales in the quarter (2.3 million units).
  • Almost all TV sets sold (99.5%) now include an integrated digital decoder. Freeview set-top boxes accounted for over 720,000 sales in the quarter, up 5.8% on Q2 2009.
  • In the year to Q2 2010 just over 14 million DTT units (IDTVs and set-top boxes) were sold, compared to 13 million in the previous year, an increase of 7.4%.
  • The number of homes claiming that DTT was their primary means of digital TV reception was 10.1 million, according to survey results in Q2 2010. This was equivalent to 39.3% of all homes and up by around 0.5 percentage points on Q2 2009.

* DVR sales include devices that combine DVR and DVD recording functionality.

Source: Sales figures from GfK, as adjusted by Freeview. The 5% upwards adjustment represents Freeview’s estimate of the number of DTT set-top boxes and IDTVs sold in Northern Ireland and offshore islands.

Digital Satellite Services

  • Q2 2010 sales data from BBC/ITV Freesat show that unit sales had reached around 1.25 million by the end of June, up from 1 million units in Q1 2010. Over three-quarters (80%) of freesat decoders sold supported HD services.
  • According to our consumer research results for Q2, around 1.6 million homes claimed to have access to some form of free-to-view digital satellite device on any set in the home. This was up from 1.3 million in the previous quarter and up by 900,000 year on year.
  • The Q2 survey also indicated that almost 9.3 million, or 36.5% of homes, received pay-satellite TV services, up 1.7 percentage points year on year. Separately, BSkyB reported that it added 90,000 subscribers to its pay television service in the UK and the Republic of Ireland during the fourth quarter; we estimate that around 70,000 of these were UK additions.

Cable Television

  • Research results for Q2 show that 13% of homes took cable television, up from 12% a year before. Separately, Virgin Media reported net additions of over 22,000 TV subscribers, with its total TV customer base now over 3.75 million. Digital cable added almost 26,000 subscribers in the quarter (including conversions from analogue cable), with over 99% of all cable television customers using digital cable services by Q2.

More: The Report