Ofcom: Freeview overtakes BSkyB in subs

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LONDON -- Free-to-air digital television platform Freeview has overtaken British Sky Broadcasting as the most popular digital service in the U.K., according to new research published Wednesday by media regulator Ofcom, which found that more than 80% of the country is now watching digital television on their main sets.

Publishing its quarterly television progress report for the first three months of the year, Ofcom said that 30-channel subscription-free offering Freeview was on the main set in 8.4 million British homes -- up from 7.7 million in the previous quarter-- an increase of 32,000 on the previous quarter. Sky was in 8 million homes.

Ofcom said it estimates that 11.7 million homes were watching Freeview either on the main set or on secondary sets in the house.

During the quarter, some 869,000 homes acquired digital television for the first time, following more than a million additions in the previous quarter, which included the seasonally strong run-up to Christmas.

Free-to-view satellite added 70,000 homes during the quarter, taking the total number of homes on the platform to 885,000.

Cable gained an additional 36,000 homes during the quarter, while an additional 19,000 homes adopted a broadband television service, an increase of 44.2% from the previous quarter.

The total number of U.K. homes now receiving television over broadband stands at 62,000.

"More than four in five U.K. households are now enjoying the benefits of digital television," Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said. "It's great news that we are continuing to see the market grow strongly as we approach the start of digital switchover."
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