DTT and satellite were the main winners in 2009 as take up of digital television in UK households reached 91.4%, an increase of 1.9 percentage points on the year.
According to Ofcom’s quarterly Digital Television Update, pay satellite services grew by 1.1pp year-on-year to each 35.8% of UK homes or a total of 9.2 million households. Free satellite closed the year on 2.5% or 600,000 households, a figure somewhat at odds with Freesat’s recently announced one million homes. DTT only homes achieved 39.6% (10.1m) while 72.6% (18.6m) can receive DTT (Freeview) on at least one television set. However, cable lost 0.4pp to end 2009 on 12.4% (3.2m).
As analogue switch off gets into its stride 79% of all TV sets had been converted to digital by the end of 2009, up 6.7pp on one year ago. 69% of all secondary TV sets have been converted.
Pay-DTT penetration on primary and secondary increased to 2.3% in the last quarter of the year, from 1.9% in Q3 and 1.5% in Q4 2008, perhaps reflecting interest in ESPN that joined the Top Up TV platform in the summer. At 1.4% other platforms, including BT Vision and Talk Talk TV (the former Tiscali TV), barely merits a mention.
Freeview set-top boxes accounted for almost 1.2 million sales in the quarter to December 31, 2009, down 7% on the previous Q4. In 2009 almost 13.7 million DTT units (IDTVs and set-top-boxes) were sold, compared to 12.5 million in 2008, an increase of 9%.