Multichannel homes rise but cable keeps on suffering

LONDON - The number of homes receiving multichannel TV in the UK has grown 2.8% in the last quarter, bringing the number of cable and digital homes to 11.03m, according to the ITC.

The numbers were boosted by BSkyB's digital satellite service Sky Digital, which saw its subscriber numbers grow to 6.06m, up from 5.87m in the second quarter, the Independent Television Commission's quarterly report into the multichannel market said.

Its success, however, appears to have been to the detriment of cable, which has seen subscriber numbers fall as NTL and Telewest failed to persuade those viewers who cancelled their analogue service to switch over to digital cable.

The number of analogue cable subscribers fell 6.2% to 1.4m, while the number of digital cable customers rose just 0.9% to 2.03m.

In terms of penetration, cable homes have fallen year on year to 13.8%, from 14.9% in the third quarter of 2001.

Digital terrestrial TV grew its share of the market to 9.3% from 8.5% in the last quarter, boosted by the launch of Freeview, the BBC's free digital service in collaboration with Sky and Crown Castle.

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