Freeview will overtake Sky in 2008, says study

The UK's continuing ongoing move towards total digital switchover will see Freeview overtake BSkyB in popularity in 2008, somewhat later than previously forecast, claims a new study from Datamonitor. The market analyst's figures show that digital terrestrial TV (DTT) services such as Freeview will exceed satellite offerings like Sky's within the next two years.

This latest news from Datamonitor contradicts a forecast earlier this summer from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, which announced that Freeview would have the lead on BSkyB before the New Year.

At the end of June, the country's leading pay-TV provider had 8.18m subscribers, compared to the 7.1m customers Freeview boasted at the end of March. However, in its most recent quarter of the financial year, Sky was taken up by 77,000 new households, while Freeview added more than ten times that amount—around 800,000—in its first quarter, with sales of set-top boxes up year-on-year by 40% to 1.2m.

As previewed last week by market research source Research and Markets, Datamonitor's new paper, The Evolving Broadcast Sector, also shows that by the end of this year 65m European homes will be digital.

And by 2010, the UK will have 95% take-up of digital television, making the country Europe's 'digital leader' as the region overtakes the US in the adoption of DTT.

But the States will continue to head the markets for high-definition television (HDTV) and internet protocol TV (IPTV), with the later remaining largely a niche format in most European countries.