Freesat has announced it has now secured more than one million homes. The BBC-ITV satellite platform has added 250,000 homes since November.
The organisation continues to promote the availability of HD channels over the platform, but despite benefitting from the upgrade of ITV1 HD to a full time channel, it can only count two high definition services among the 150 channels broadcast.
The launch of Freeview HD this Easter will bring further competitive challenges. Unlike Freesat, Freeview HD will carry Channel 4, while Sky surprised the market last week with the announcement that it alone would offer Five HD. This leaves the pay service as the only platform to offer all the available HD content from the UK’s so-called public broadcasters.
Freesat MD Emma Scott has pointed to the addition of new capacity at 28.2 degrees East that will offer broadcasters a tighter beam over the UK. However, this may not convince the Hollywood studios that their content is being sufficiently protected.
It seems unlikely that Five’s contract with Sky will be for as short a period as one year, and Freesat will have to hope that Channel 4 does not renew its conditional access agreement with Sky for any longer.