ITV is reported to have delayed the launch of its Freesat, free-to-air, satellite service with the BBC.

The commercial broadcaster announced in September that the Freesat service aimed to be operational by June.

But continued high sales of digital terrestrial Freeview boxes is thought to have prompted a rethink by ITV executives in recent weeks. This week, the Freeview consortium, which ITV joined in October, will announce that sales have broken through the 10 million mark.

Now, it is likely that the subscription free service will become available sometime next year because ITV wants to concentrate on marketing the Freeview service instead. ITV has higher ratings in Freeview homes than those with Sky television.

The Freesat service is aimed at the estimated 25 per cent of UK households which cannot receive a digital terrestrial signal.