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Feb 11 2013

Freesat today announced it has sold its 3 millionth product, taking gross retail sales to well over £1bn; four years after the service first launched in 2008.

Freesat added 55,000 new households in the third quarter of 2012. This is more than Sky (25,000 households) and BT Vision (20,000) combined in the same period.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director said:

In just four years we have established ourselves as a real challenger and genuine alternative to pay-TV. In that time we’ve delivered choice and quality, subscription free. Customer choice has driven every stage of our development; not least the launch of our second generation service, <free time>, in Q3 of last year.

37 Responses to “Freesat celebrates 3 million sales”

  1. James Woodcock Says:

    Impressive numbers, although I hope this statistic encourages more channels and in particular HD ones to the platform.

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  2. Richard Crichton Says:

    James Woodcock said:
    Impressive numbers, although I hope this statistic encourages more channels and in particular HD ones to the platform.

    I think we mostly know why the HD channels are behind a paywall and until their exclusivity contracts expire are unable to come to Freesat. I would certainly like to see the rest of the BBC channels go HD at some stage in the not too diistant future but it may not be until after the licence freeze ends.

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  3. Keith Cobby Says:

    This is very good news indeed. I expect Sky have reached saturation and I see BT competing with Sky rather than Freesat.

    I cannot understand why all the BBC channels are not already HD. They have plenty of money and it is just a question of priorities. The recent DG affair proves that.

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  4. Richard Crichton Says:

    Certainly its a matter of priorities eg why is CBBC on during the school day when children are at school. For the few that are off sick? Poor excuse imho. It’s plain daft.

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  5. LSS110581 Says:

    Now we just need some competition for Humax from other manufacturers coming to the market with their ‘Free time’ boxes. Any news on this?

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  6. admin Says:

    LSS110581 said:
    Now we just need some competition for Humax from other manufacturers coming to the market with their ‘Free time’ boxes. Any news on this?

    Only two other manufacturers have a contract for this but both have been delayed due to issues outside of their control. Suspect they are now going to sit back and wait to see how success it is with Humax.

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  7. lawrence pearce Says:

    Well done Freesat, that’s a pretty impressive figure. It must represent at least 2 million viewers allowing for equiment that’s failed and viewers with more than one Freesat device.
    But I think the figure could be even higher if the equipment was more reliable. I for one cannot recommend it wholeheartedly given the number of bugs and glitches that the platform has and is suffering.

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  8. Richard Crichton Says:

    Do we know how many of the 55,000 new households who bought in the 3rd quarter bought G1 and how many bought G2. Also how many were SD?

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  9. Robert Says:

    They should take in Ireland into that because lots of people have it here too. Freesat keep up the good work.

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  10. Neil Says:

    Great news for freesat, interesting too that their increase in unit sales was more than BT Vision and Sky put together. Admin, when you say ‘Q3′ 2012 I presume you mean Q4 being Oct-Dec?

    With all the new G2 freetime box it should be good news going forward, I bet before the middle of the year Sky will be posting net customer losses rather than gains as the pay TV market has reached saturation. Let BT and Sky fight their sports rights out (and I hope BT do well), meanwhile for everyone else freesat remains a viable option.

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  11. admin Says:

    Neil said:
    Great news for freesat, interesting too that their increase in unit sales was more than BT Vision and Sky put together. Admin, when you say ‘Q3′ 2012 I presume you mean Q4 being Oct-Dec?

    It’s from the press release, and I’ve just clarified with them, the sales figures are reported up to the end of Q3 2012 and the quote from Emma is Q3 when freetime was announced/launched, even though I’d stand by it being Q4 when physical units were available. So that should mean no freetime receivers have been included within these figures, so we should see some positive movement from the Christmas quarter.

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  12. ian Says:

    With this news, it should be an enticement for more broadcasters to get involved with Freesat as it has a big reach.
    Sony TV, are you listening?

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  13. Dipper Says:

    Lawrence Pearce says,

    “But I think the figure could be even higher if the equipment was more reliable. I for one cannot recommend it wholeheartedly given the number of bugs and glitches that the platform has and is suffering.”

    What bugs & glitches? I’ve had 2 x Humax Foxsat HDR’s since they first came out & haven’t had any problems.

    Great news, Freesat.

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  14. RAM Says:

    admin
    Are there any estimates as to the number of freesat from Sky and generic FTA boxes because if these numbers were high enough it might influence some channels to go on Freesat or FTA?

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  15. admin Says:

    RAM said:
    admin
    Are there any estimates as to the number of freesat from Sky and generic FTA boxes because if these numbers were high enough it might influence some channels to go on Freesat or FTA?

    You may be able to get this kind of information off the ofcom reports made quarterly, but I don’t have them to hand.

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  16. Kevin Says:

    The figure that really matters are the percentage viewers that are using each platform. I have seen these figures in the past but wouldn’t know where to find them.
    Also, now that digital switchover has been completed (I think) does this mean that growth in the platform will be severely curtailed?

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  17. Stan Butler Says:

    Good news BUT Freesat must start hassling TV guide mags and newspapers so that they publish Freesat channel numbers instead / as well as Virgin, Sky etc alongside the channel name.

    Should have been done years ago – the user figures make it a slam dunk.

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  18. Rosco Says:

    RAM said:
    admin
    Are there any estimates as to the number of freesat from Sky and generic FTA boxes because if these numbers were high enough it might influence some channels to go on Freesat or FTA?

    Any figures would be just guesswork – Ive got 4 generic fta receivers in use in the living room & a Freesat box in the bedroom! (Only the Freesat box gives me any meaningful UK tv) And there are numerous other receivers stashed away in cupboards just in case I need another one adding into the AV stack

    As most of my kit is second hand a good few boxes wont show up in any figures anywhere.

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  19. Neil Says:

    admin said: It’s from the press release, and I’ve just clarified with them, the sales figures are reported up to the end of Q3 2012 and the quote from Emma is Q3 when freetime was announced/launched, even though I’d stand by it being Q4 when physical units were available. So that should mean no freetime receivers have been included within these figures, so we should see some positive movement from the Christmas quarter.

    Cheers for clarifying that admin, looks like with the ads for freetime being pushed in Q4 once the Christmas sales figures are in we’ll see how well freetime is getting on.

    I get a feeling that today’s announcement may tie in with a forthcoming RT HD launch not too far away now to keep the platform’s momentum up.

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  20. Soldierboy001 Says:

    Richard Crichton said: Certainly its a matter of priorities eg why is CBBC on during the school day when children are at school. For the few that are off sick? Poor excuse imho. It’s plain daft.

    CBBC is not just for school children, lots of tots not yet old enough for school watch and it helps both to keep them amused and educate them. I have living proof a 2 year old that can hold a very good conversation with an adult.

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  21. mike65 Says:

    Robert said:
    They should take in Ireland into that because lots of people have it here too. Freesat keep up the good work.

    It would be interesting to know how many people in Ireland have switched to Freesat as the slump continues .

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  22. Anthony Says:

    ian said: With this news, it should be an enticement for more broadcasters to get involved with Freesat as it has a big reach.Sony TV, are you listening?

    Sony’s two channels Sony TV and Sony Movie Channel are free-to-view encrypted via Skycard and behind the Sky Videoguard encryption wall. It would be nice for these two channels to get on a Astra 2 UK only spotbeam and go free to air clear on Sky and Freesat forever.

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  23. Neil Says:

    Anthony said: Sony’s two channels Sony TV and Sony Movie Channel are free-to-view encrypted via Skycard and behind the Sky Videoguard encryption wall. It would be nice for these two channels to get on a Astra 2 UK only spotbeam and go free to air clear on Sky and Freesat forever.

    I suspect Sony are FTV due to some of their programming having rights issues. Globecast, their uplink provider, have signed a deal to take two UK spotbeam 2F transponders from SES on long term lease so lets hope the Sony channels go spot-beam, remove encryption and join the platform in the medium term.

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  24. Anthony Says:

    Neil said: I suspect Sony are FTV due to some of their programming having rights issues. Globecast, their uplink provider, have signed a deal to take two UK spotbeam 2F transponders from SES on long term lease so lets hope the Sony channels go spot-beam, remove encryption and join the platform in the medium term.

    Yeah Sony TV in particular shows a lot of BBC shows that necessitate free-to-view encryption limiting them to Sky-only ftv access thru Skycard.

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  25. Clem Dye Says:

    Freesat isn’t that well recognised. When people think DSAT they think Sky. Unless there’s more visibility in the marketplace and more kit, I can’t see Freesat going the distance — there’s so little kit available now that’s Freesat-compliant that can be used to get the service. Samsung has just stopped making STBs and the Echostar PVR is no longer up for grabs. That just leaves the new Humax (which is still buggy), the G1 Manhattan PVR, the less than stellar Sagem and Bush/Goodmans kit and a couple of STBs. Panasonic and Samsung have a couple of panels available in their current range, but that could all change soon when the annual range refresh occurs. No point banging the drum about how good Freesat is if no-one has heard of it, and if they have, there’s a dearth of kit to be had to receive it. But that’s assuming that there’s also a good selection of compelling channels in HD. Sky viewers recently got More4HD and Film4HD — on Freesat I can count the HD channels available on one hand, pretty much. On that basis I give Freesat 4/10, must try harder …..

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  26. Russ Says:

    People who complain about the lack of HD channels should realise that Sky subscribers get no HD channels unless they pay £10 on top off their normal package cost. My neighbours have just switched to Freesat after subscribing to Sky, they were unable to receive any of the public service broadcaster HD channels. Freesat might only have five channels in HD but thats five more than a large number of Sky viewers.

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  27. Neil Says:

    Russ said:
    People who complain about the lack of HD channels should realise that Sky subscribers get no HD channels unless they pay £10 on top off their normal package cost. My neighbours have just switched to Freesat after subscribing to Sky, they were unable to receive any of the public service broadcaster HD channels. Freesat might only have five channels in HD but thats five more than a large number of Sky viewers.

    Indeed Russ, it’s Sky who pay broadcasters to keep these channels behind the paywall. If they’d not paid off C5 I have every faith it would be on both Freesat and Freeview by now.

    Sky are acutely aware of what freesat can offer and saw it as a threat to their platform. What we need now is ITV to pull their finger out and put ITV2-4 FTA once their Sky encryption deal ends. Unlike C4 who’s sold out to Sky (again!), ITV have a vested interest in freesat and so should support it. I’d agree back in 2010 that after launching ITV1HD as a stand alone channel, the help from Sky launching ITV’s 2-4HD was probably hard to turn down otherwise wouldn’t have happened, particularly at a time when there wasn’t much in native HD. ITV’s finances are now much healthier, they’ve committed to another 2x Astra 2F transponders so should support their own platform.

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  28. Lawrence pearce Says:

    Russ said: People who complain about the lack of HD channels should realise that Sky subscribers get no HD channels unless they pay £10 on top off their normal package cost.

    That’s not true, surely. Any Sky HD box will receive the same four BBC / ITV / Channel 4 HD channels, even without subscription. Granted you need to subscribe to Sky in order to record these channels, but you do not need the HD package. The HD package is oversold as being essential for HD viewing, but in reality it merely enables you to record a whole range of additional channels.

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  29. ian Says:

    Russ said:
    My neighbours have just switched to Freesat after subscribing to Sky, they were unable to receive any of the public service broadcaster HD channels. Freesat might only have five channels in HD but thats five more than a large number of Sky viewers.

    They told you a porky then.
    Any Sky HD box will or without the card, show BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD, NHK World HD & RT HD.
    Channel 5 HD needs an active card. No subscription required. FSFS card will do more than enough!

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  30. Russ Says:

    ian said: They told you a porky then.
    Any Sky HD box will or without the card, show BBC One HD, BBC HD, ITV HD, Channel 4 HD, NHK World HD & RT HD.
    Channel 5 HD needs an active card. No subscription required. FSFS card will do more than enough!

    They did not have FSFS they subscribed to the basic entertainment package plus horse racing channel. Whilst they were subscribing, the PSB HD channels showed unavailable, so no they did not tell me a porky. I went round their house to sort a problem out for them and saw the unavailable banner myself. In fact they switched to Freesat on my recommendation after I discovered they had Freesat built into their Panasonic IDTV, they were unaware of this fact, as the salesman had failed to mention it.

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  31. Keith Cobby Says:

    I think that if (when) Freesat have a few more HD channels available the platform will become a serious threat to Sky. BT are muscling in on their pay-TV business and the decision not to transmit the remake of House of Cards on television will erode their subscriber base.In any event most people are watching the terrestrial channels, hardly anyone is watching most of Sky’s hundreds of channels.

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  32. Russ Says:

    I was just talking to a very good friend of mine who bought my old Panasonic IDTV off me. Although it had Freesat built in he still subscribe to sky as he likes to watch speedway. He spends £40+ each month on the entertainment and sports channels and guess what? he also receive no PSB HD channels. He has to switch to Freesat to gain access to these channels.

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  33. Richard Crichton Says:

    Keith Cobby said:
    I think that if (when) Freesat have a few more HD channels available the platform will become a serious threat to Sky. BT are muscling in on their pay-TV business and the decision not to transmit the remake of House of Cards on television will erode their subscriber base.In any event most people are watching the terrestrial channels, hardly anyone is watching most of Sky’s hundreds of channels.

    If BT is anything like TalkTalk Sky still get the money if you have any of their channels so its a win win for Sly Sky either way.

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  34. derek Says:

    when is 4od and demend 5 coming to freesat thanks derek

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  35. Kate Says:

    Is there any info on the breakdown of the 3 million into SD-STBs, HD-STBs, HD-PVRs and TVs. Must be a lot of TVs included in those figures to push the average price upto £330.

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  36. admin Says:

    Kate said:
    Is there any info on the breakdown of the 3 million into SD-STBs, HD-STBs, HD-PVRs and TVs.Must be a lot of TVs included in those figures to push the average price upto £330.

    Average price of £330, where did you get that info from? Freesat don’t give out a breakdown of product sales; it is a closely guarded secret.

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  37. Kate Says:

    £1bn / 3 million = ????

    Depends on your definition of a billion of course, the alternative is unlikely!

    BUT since it is know that a lot of SD receivers are sold, it means a lot of the well over a £1bn must be TVs, as even PVRs cost a lot less than £330.

    Just interested in how many TVs with Freesat have been sold.

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