ANALYSIS: MEDIA TRACK - Digital TV continues to eat into the viewing figures of the terrestrial channels

Digital TV is gradually building its presence in the UK, having attracted more than three million customers across the terrestrial, satellite and cable platforms.

Digital TV is gradually building its presence in the UK, having

attracted more than three million customers across the terrestrial,

satellite and cable platforms.



One of the key features of digital TV is that it delivers more channels

and interactive services than the analogue system permits.



This is great for the viewer, but where does this leave the UK’s five

main terrestrial TV channels?



Very early figures analysed in Media Track in November last year showed

that in Sky Digital homes, ITV’s share of viewing came in at around 23

per cent. This compares with an average share of 32 per cent for ITV in

all homes.



More substantial data, taken each week this year until 16 April, shows

this trend continuing. ITV’s average share in Sky Digital homes is now

23.2 per cent and 30.3 per cent in all homes. So far this year, ITV’s

share in ONdigital homes also averages 23.2 per cent.



The fact that ITV’s share is equal in Sky Digital and ONdigital homes is

significant considering ITV is still unavailable on Sky’s system - Sky

Digital viewers have to switch back manually to analogue in order to

view ITV.



The other terrestrial channels all show significantly lower shares of

viewing in digital homes. On average, these channels are taking a 30 per

cent lower share than in all homes. By comparison, viewing of

non-terrestrial channels is more than two-and-a-half times higher in

satellite and terrestrial digital homes than in all homes.



ONdigital has a customer base of more than half a million, while Sky

Digital has about 2.6 million subscribers. Viewing patterns for the two

companies’ customers appear to be slightly different. BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV

and Channel 4 all take a lower share of viewing in ONdigital homes than

they do in Sky Digital homes.



When the population adopts digital TV en masse, as it ultimately must,

the traditional free-to-air terrestrial stations will almost certainly

take a pounding.





MediaTel’s database is available at www.mediatel.co.uk. For more

information contact 020-7439 7575 or e-mail info@mediatel.co.uk.



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