Sky Digital to hit Murdoch's 8m homes target by 2005

LONDON – Sky Digital is likely to reach James Murdoch's target of 8m customers by 2005, according to research from Continental, with an extra 500,000 customers expected to sign up.

Sky Digital to hit Murdoch's 8m homes target by 2005

The leap in Sky's customer base will help it continue to dominate multichannel TV. Freeview is set to rise to 4.9m from 3.5m homes, making it the fastest-growing medium.

Jon Beaumont, director at Continental Research, said: "In terms of new growth, it is likely that Sky will actually outperform cable, especially with a concerted fourth quater marketing push."

Digital TV take-up is expected to reach 15.9m homes by 2005, an increase of 2.5m. This figure will count for 66% of all homes.

Beaumont added: "However, the launch of FreeSat in October will possibly impact on the Freeview sales, and the general structure and growth of the market."

To receive FreeSat will require a £160 one-off payment for installation of a satellite dish and set-top box. The service will comprise more than 100 TV channels and cover 97% of the UK. This compares with a £50 one-off payment for Freeview that has 30 TV channels and 70% coverage.

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