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Freeview Research Indicates No Worries For BSkyB

By | June 18, 2003

      Despite the fact that it is shifting an impressive 100,000 units a month, it appears UK digital terrestrial television (DTT) alternative Freeview is not having an impact on satellite pay-TV operator BSkyB’s [London: BSY.L] ability to pick up new subscribers. In a wide ranging research survey released on the June 9, the BBC announced that 74 per cent of Freeview buyers were aged over 35, and 40 per cent were over 55, indicating that Freeview was attracting an older segment of the population. This is good news for BSkyB, as the traditional take-up of pay-TV is among the younger parts of the population. This was further supported when 83 per cent of Freeview’s consumers stated that they did not consider getting any other system. Around 75 per cent of Freeview users are completely new to digital.

      Freeview has had a considerable impact on the UK digital television market. It has sold 800,000 set-top boxes (STBs) since October and there are now over 1.6 million users gaining access to Freeview’s services. It is an impressive result and the growth rates have been above expectations. The Freeview model, where the customers pay a one-off fee of GBP100 ($166) for an adapter and no monthly fees, has proved incredibly popular. But the research indicates that people who want the advantages and breadth of pay-TV are unlikely to go for Freeview, which is good news for BSkyB as well as its cable rivals NTL and Telewest [London: TWT.L].

      –Mark Holmes

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