Digital TV growth continues in UK

The number of UK digital TV customers taking triple-play services continues to increase, according to Ofcom’s Digital TV Progress Report for the second quarter. By the end of June, 16% of BSkyB customers, or 1.5 million, took three services, up from 11% last year. The number of Virgin Media subscribers taking three or more services reached 58%, up from 53% at the end of March.

The communications regulator’s report shows that Sky ended June with 9,442,000 pay-TV subscribers after adding 124,000 during the quarter. The number of Sky Plus DVR subscribers reached 5.5 million, or 58% of its subscriber base, while over 1.3 million subscribed to HD services after adding 291,000 HD customers during the quarter.

Virgin Media added 32,900 digital TV customers during the quarter, including those migrating from analogue services. The cable operator’s V Plus DVR service had 668,500 customers at the end of June after adding 56,600 during the quarter, while over half of digital TV customers used the VOD service on a monthly basis. About 860,000 homes subscribed to other pay-TV platforms at the end of June, with BT Vision ending the quarter with 433,000 subs and Top Up TV and Tiscali TV making up the rest.

In terms of free-to-air digital TV services, there were 29.7 million DTT-enabled TV sets at the end of June, of which 9.9 million were primary sets and 19.8 million were secondary sets. Integrated DTT TV sets are becoming increasingly popular, according to Ofcom, leading to a 25% year-on-year reduction in Freeview set-top sales, which numbered 680,000 in the second quarter. The BBC/ITV freesat service attracted 450,000 users by the end of June, up from 350,000 the previous quarter.

Of the approximately 60 million TV sets in use in the UK, 80% are now digitally enabled, according to the report. The average UK home owns 2.4 TV sets.