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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.