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Sep 07 2011

Freesat today announced it has sold its 2 millionth unit, far exceeding original sales projections made when the company launched three years ago, and taking gross retail sales to nearly £1 billion since launch in 2008.

According to Freesat customer research, a record 47% of its customers have come from Sky households so far in 2011. Freesat also remains the fastest growing TV platform in the UK, adding c.88,000 new homes in Q2 2011 – more than doubling Sky’s net additions of c.40,000 in the same period.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, attributes the company’s success to the commitment to offering customers what they really want to watch, subscription-free and without any additional charges for channels or services that they don’t want;

We launched three years ago and in that short time have quickly established ourselves as a real challenger and genuine alternative to pay-TV. With five HD channels, access to the BBC and ITV Players, as well as Freesat+ all available subscription-free, we’re giving customers a high quality service without a high price.

Freesat has also committed to a regular, twice yearly update of its market performance from this point onwards. The company will also be launching the next stage of its product and service development in early 2012.

59 Responses to “Freesat Surges Ahead With 2 Million Sales”

  1. Mark B Says:

    This is awesome news. Imagine where Freesat will be in a year’s time! Especially with the live service of Astra 1N starting very soon, exciting times ahead for Freesat! :-)

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  2. mediaman Says:

    This is great news. I have had Freesat since the early days and have seen it grow beyond expectations. Keep up the good work

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  3. Neil Says:

    This is great news for the platform, 2m in 3yrs is fantastic and to do c88,000 in Q2 alone (beating Sky’s figures by double) is an achievement. What is also interesting is that in research carried out by Freesat, they say 47% of households have come from an ex-Sky this year alone. This beats the previous figure of 40% quoted last year which was averaged since the platform launch. Considering Sky’s 10.6% churn rate, which in these hard times is obviously going to creep up slightly, I reckon this Christmas’s sales figures could be the best ever if more Sky churners buy in to the service.

    Freesat should run a radio advertising campaign as it would raise popularity, notice Sky are now doing radio ads too. Perhaps Freesat could highlight the “better effect” people get by not being stung for up to £60/month just for TV! :-)

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  4. Lawrence Pearce Says:

    Excellent news which should help increase the choice of equipment and drive prices down. But I guess that the rate of growth will slow as Freeview HD gathers steam.

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  5. steve 1 Says:

    Freesat hd has the edge compared to freeview hd

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  6. Al (Original) Says:

    @ Lawrence # 4, how exactly is Freeview HD growth going to gather steam?

    They’re allegedly out of bandwidth!! They’ve recently managed to squeeze another HD slot on there from what I understand so another HD channel is a possibility in the near future, but that’s pretty much it as I understand it.

    Freesat on the other hand have loads following the launch of a new spot beam satellite Astra 1N.

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  7. Richard Crichton Says:

    @Al
    Perhaps OfcoN will allocate more bandwidth to Freeview HD once all the analog frequencies are available.
    It’s all about raising money for the government so if someone pays them enough it will happen.

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  8. Al Catraz Says:

    good news indeed – I wonder what the “tipping point” is for channel bosses before freesat becomes a better deal financially than $ky in terms of audience figures (hence advertising revenue) vs transmission costs?

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  9. Tony C. Says:

    Great news. I presume those figures are for the UK. I am in Southern Ireland and I can tell you that with the economy the way it is here there are lots of people dropping Sky/UPC.

    As Al Catraz says, it can only mean more channels.

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  10. Clive Says:

    I have both freesat HD and freeview HD and can tell you the freesat picture quality is way better. Both are Humax boxes using exactly the same TV. With all the available space on freesat for the future, it’s an absolute no brainer!!

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  11. Zub Says:

    Terrestial capacitywill reach it’s limit damn soon. Sadly a lot of people who invest in freeview don’t realise this. There is no way that it can ever compete with satellite in terms of channels.

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  12. D A Burns Says:

    freesat should advertise more and hint what channel type there is coming in the future there are house holds that do not know what freesat is

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  13. steve 1 Says:

    Clive I just hope freesat don’t hold back because of this.BBC want both platforms to be the same which is not good really

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  14. sp Says:

    Agree, Freeview picture falls short of Freesat – by some way on my integrated Panasonic, never mind the Humax.

    Does the BBC intention to keep Freeview aligned with Freesat fit with some ‘understanding’ that ‘terrestrial’ (by which i mean aerial recieved) TV doesnt fade away – potentially an uproar in the masses (Daily Mail) about digital switchover etc etc.

    Also, i echo the thoughts that the public dont know about Freesat. Most people I come across only know because I told them, think it means the Sky ‘Freesat’…or have have been round mine and I have blasted them with the sales patter.

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  15. Clive Says:

    I have both freesat HD and freeview HD and can tell you the freesat picture quality is way better. Both are Humax boxes using exactly the same TV. With the extra space available on freesat for the future, it’s a no brainer.

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  16. Richard Crichton Says:

    Still some watchable channels like 5 USA, 5* and Sly news that are on Freeview but not on Freesat although Sly news is available in non Freesat mode. Also not everyone wants a wok on their house.. I just wish non Freesat mode was one button push instead of having to go into the menu, about six button pushes in all. Makes no sense.

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  17. Tony Hales Says:

    Lots of people want 5 USA and 5* etc but cant’ get it on Freesat.
    Freesat needs to get all the Freeview channels and more HD then it will grow at a much faster pace.

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  18. Clive Says:

    Sorry folks, my comment hadn’t appeared after four hours so posted again. Then when i submitted it the second time another four comments appeared! This site seems to have as many bugs as my foxsat HDR! (only joking admin) As Steve 1 said i also hope the BBC don’t hold freesat back, but then again freesat’s not all about the BBC. If other channels keep moving forward with freesat then i think the BBC will have to also. There’s so much possibility for the future, I’m not that bothered about them anyway. Their picture quality’s pants and i think freesat will keep growing with or without them.

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  19. steve 1 Says:

    I like the wok joke I have sky news on non freesat but not sly news is that a new channel?

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  20. steve 1 Says:

    Sorry Richard only pulling your leg!

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  21. Clive Says:

    I’m sure 5 USA and 5* will join freesat in the future along with many other channels. I can’t see to many people being put off by their absence. As for Sky news, you could always watch one of the other fifty news channels! And as for the wok stuck on the side of my house, it looks a lot better than my ariel stuck up on a bloody great long pole!

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  22. ASK Says:

    I think BBC should target areas like my own, which has Freeviewlite. We had DSO this July, which gave us 21 channels, I don’t count Radio as we lose them at 4pm each day, so Freesat was a blessing to me. At least when you buy Freesat everyone gets the same service , so long live Freesat.

    I wonder if anyone has any idea how many people will not receive, the full version of freeview after switchover is complete, because I Know how let down I felt, having paid my licence for 49 years.

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  23. Frazer Palmer Says:

    Well done, Freesat. We are also connected to Sky. We enjoy building up recordings of programmes and watching them instead of being fed programmes we had little chance of avoiding – apart from switching off the tv!

    The difference between standard resolution and high is nearly always noticeable and appreciated!

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  24. Sandra Says:

    I just love it, loads to watch, wish we could have a tv mag with all the channels something like Radio times but I guess thats asking too much.

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  25. steve 1 Says:

    A freesat magazine would be good admin. free of coarse paid by adverts with freesat tv guide and news and it will push up sales as well it could snow ball.good idea ?

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  26. Tobias Says:

    Thanks to Freesat I can enjoy the wonderful English TV here in Germany. Never watch anything else anymore.

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  27. philipsmith Says:

    I have left Sky and bought a freesat box and I am really pleased with the service. Sky recently phoned me to go back to them, I told them that if you are not an avid sports fan then Sky provides a poor service. I asked him where is Sky’s Downtown Abbey or similiar drama. He could not answer me as Sky only shows drama from America, most of it rubbish.

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  28. Matthew Says:

    Freesat is a great platform, if you’re not bothered about Sky Channels, the Kids Channels(Disney, Nick, Cartoon Network) And Disocvery stuff, then its a great free service.

    Hopefully with the popularity of freesat increasing, some of these pay tv operatings will see sense and offer their stuff free to air.

    I would love to see Yesterday, Watch, Gold etc FTA. I’m hoping now that Virgin have sold their stake in the UKTV channels that will happen.

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  29. Chrislayeruk Says:

    As I understand things the orininal reason for Freesat is to provide a free to air service for those who cannot get Freeview or are dissatisfied with Freeview lite.

    So License fee payers need not be dissappointed, Freesat is for you. The fact that it will surpass Freeview is a great unexpected consequence.

    Cheers Chris :)

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  30. Neil Says:

    Here’s an article from the Guardian:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/sep/07/freesat-2-million-customers

    … and for reference, here’s an article published last March when they hit 1m:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/mar/24/freesat-millionth-customer?INTCMP=SRCH

    To those asking about 5*/5USA, these have been confirmed to be on their way, we’re all just waiting for 1N to move to 28.2E now.

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  31. Rosco Says:

    @28 Matthew – we are a looong way off getting Yesterday et al free. The financial numbers just dont add up – and wont do for years (if ever).

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  32. Matthew Says:

    @Rosco

    That’s a shame, that said the audience numbers(0.7 percent) look quite good, I see no reason why Yesterday couldn’t survive funded by adverts in a FTA format, yes they would lose the subscription revenue from Virgin and Sky but again I see no reason why that cant be made up with increased viewers/ad revenue.

    Anyway I’m hoping the company who will own these channels sees sense and looks at alternate forms of revenue for these channels.

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  33. Neil Says:

    The BBC are advocates of Freesat and I guess that, with no spotbeam capacity available, they would until now have only had the option of putting any UKTV services FTV which would be a boost for Sky rather than Freesat for which they are 50% joint owners of. Keeping them pay seems quite cunning in that respect as it protects Freesat from Sky’s FSFS service in popularity, we now have to see whether with technical hurdles out of the way UKTV will, either soon or in the medium future, put Dave, Yesterday et al FTA on Satellite. Scripps support the combination of pay and free TV offerings who have bought VM’s stake so there is a glimmer of hope.

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  34. Alan Says:

    I like what seems like many others came over from Sky in April this year, bought myself a Humax and never looked back!!! I had some reservations at the start, but now I really enjoy my veiwing and don’t miss all the American stuff!!!! Re discovered how good the BBC really is. Keep adding the channels. Thank you.

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  35. Edwardo Says:

    Excellent news!
    I have an EyeTV Sat connected to my iMac, a Humax Freesat HD connected to my Sharp TV and a EyeTV for DTT Freeview connected to my Mac Mini; also connected to the TV via HDMi.
    The Freesat recordings are amazing when streamed from my iMac to my PS3 with Playback Server, the only downside is that BBC HD recordings are not supported. Nevertheless I can still access them from the Mac Mini.
    Sky bought the rights to broadcast all of the F1 season next year, however much I love F1 I still wouldn’t pay Sky one penny to watch 10 races.
    Freesat just gets better and better, Channel 4 HD just looks stunning on the iMac and my TV, blows BBC HD out of the water!

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  36. steve 1 Says:

    To edwardo the BBC still bought some of f1 races its not all bad

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  37. Al (Original) Says:

    @Richard # 7, the problem with that is the government are practically bankrupt and need the sell off money.So, I can’t see them giving bandwidth to Freeview they can sell privately elsewhere.

    In any event, even with more bandwidth being donated, I doubt it would be enough in the long run. TV services are getting ever higher in resolution and ever more complex in form eg 3D and all of these technologies require extra bandwidth to function. I simply can’t see a way on terrestrial of ensuring demand doesn’t outstrip supply as extra bandwidth is soon gobbled up in the fast moving technological world we live in, and beyond that bandwidth are services that can’t be moved.

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  38. JayW Says:

    “RADIO TIMES”
    Comments made about RT. RT currently produces different Regional Vaiations for England + (I think) versions for Wales & Scotland. The differences for the Enlish Regions are minor.
    My suggestion always has been to create versions for 1) FREESAT & 2) FREEVIEW, and even if there was a demand a SKY version, but as SKY require the BBC to pay them for access to their screen guide, I assume that SKY would be asked to pay for the advertising in a SKY version of RT.
    SKY viewers are a small minority of viewers and yet the RT has pages of free advertising for programmes that most viewers cannot watch.

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  39. Two Pen'orth Says:

    Agreed 38-JayW.

    It is annoying that RT has pages of Sky programming.

    For an awful lot of people these pages are never even read.

    Some people argue that there is no need for a printed programme listing magazine when there is the EPG available.

    I would opine that the sales figures for RT prove that a listings magazine is desirable, if not essential.

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  40. Martin Says:

    Well done freesat for getting 2 million target but I also echo the other people who feel you need to advertise you r out there cos some people really don’t know hope the the future goes well for you I am watching freesat more now than I did when I first got it 3 years ago please let us know when new channels are coming I know 5* and 5 USA has been mentioned but it’s gone quiet again so hope they will be on this platform before Christmas

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  41. gingercol Says:

    @Edwardo 35 you can get hd content on the iplayer now through your ps3. Far better than through my humax or sony KDL-32EX503 tv .Only a matter of time before more hd channels come to freesat making it the no1 way to watch tv.
    Also @Admin do the freesat figures include freesat from sky?

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  42. admin Says:

    @gingercol

    The 2 million sales are Freesat sales, not Freesat from Sky.

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  43. gingercol Says:

    So the amount of freesat viewers is likely to be more than 2 million if as many people are leaving sky as is being reported . As you still get to keep the supplied box to use for freesat ( non pvr ) without subscription.

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  44. Edwardo Says:

    @gingercol 41

    Thanks, I didn’t know that. Perhaps now is the time to switch my Broadband as I have a 20GB cap with Madasafish. Having said that I rarely, if ever, use any of the on demand services. I’ve recorded so many programmes that I’m still struggling to watch even now. I’ve still yet to watch a film I recorded at the end of May 2010.

    Information Overload!

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  45. Kokua Says:

    Just Curious…

    Does anybody remember the original sales projection?
    When did they expect to hit the 2 millon barrier?

    May be interesting to know.

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  46. Matthew Says:

    @gingercol

    I can see freesat from sky becoming mostly defunct when the other channels not on freesat that freesat from sky offers launch. No one really cares about PickTV or Challenge as you can get on freeview anyway. Should be an interesting few years when the platform evolves(if it does)

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  47. steve 1 Says:

    My father in law has freesat from sky and every other channel is blocked why don’t they sort out the epg out so you can surf the channels better.anyway I perfer this freesat

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  48. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Steve 1 #47

    I doubt if Sky would sort the EPG out as they are keen for viewers to sign up to paid content. I must say that despite the limitations of the Bush Freesat EPG I much prefer it to the Sky EPG.

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  49. Martin Pugh Says:

    I notice a comment from Mark B relating to “Astra 1N”. What will this mean to an average Freesat user like me who is using the standard Sky dish to receive programmes? Will we be able to receive additional channels, etc?

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  50. admin Says:

    @Martin Pugh

    There is nothing you need to do; it just means that some UK broadcasters (mainly focused on Channel 5) who have to broadcast from the narrow beam might now be able to introduce 5* and 5US as they possibly now will take up the option of capacity space they’ve turned down in the past. The narrow beam limitations are not the fault of Freesat but the availability of the technology on the existing beams (2D).

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  51. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Admin #50

    I was under the impression that Sky have hogged much of the narrow beam capacity with their own encrypted services! Considering how honest James Murdoch appears to be I am not surprised.

    I dare say if James Murdoch was ever jailed for his part in the phone hacking scandal he would only serve a fraction of the term. He would no doubt be let out on medical grounds for example suffering from Parkinson’s disease!

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  52. admin Says:

    @Kevin Ver1

    Well I’m not sure about jesting about Parkinson’s disease but with the Murdochs wealth, I suspect they’ll never see any time behind bars!

    Sky do have much of the narrow beam allocation but ultimately it was first come first serve and at the time space across all the beams was at a premium so they grabbed from where they could. In recent years something should have been done (presumably in parliment) to have them moved away for other UK broadcasters, but as we all know, government was very much a pawn of Sky’s so nothing was ever going to be done, nor did any UK broadcaster show any interest in complaining about it; Channel 5 were quite happy to get into bed with Sky, as were Channel 4 until recently.

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  53. steve 1 Says:

    I know someone with the disease you shouldn’t joke about it.it was in bad taste

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  54. Tony Hales Says:

    @47 steve 1
    The only reason for Sky’s existance is to make money by encouraging people to pay to watch their walled garden platform so there is no way they will do anything about the EPG for the non payers benefit.

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  55. Kevin Ver1 Says:

    @ Steve # 53

    Sorry if I offended you, but it was not intentional. I agree that Parkinsons disease is a very serious condition but my comment has its genesis from a old fraud case from the 1980′s. One of the persons charged in the Guinness share trading fraud was a guy called Earnest Saunders.

    He was sentenced to 5 years in jail but only served 10 months. I know that he was released early as he was showing signs of a degenerative disease which I had assumed was Parkinsons disease but it was claimed to be Alzheimer’s disease (my mistake). Anyway after his release all the symptoms disappeared and the assumption is that he faked the condition. Otherwise he is the only known person to recover!

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  56. steve 1 Says:

    You shouldn’t joke but I know it was in jest no hard feelings.I wonder what channels we will have before christmas should be fun

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  57. Fronty Says:

    @9 and @26, there are a lot of us outside the UK using Freesat (S France)

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  58. Matthew Says:

    @56

    Steve, didnt they say 5usa and 5* were coming to freesat? With the new satelite due to come into service these would come first I imagine..

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  59. Space Says:

    Someone should update FreeSat’s wikipedia page – I’m pretty sure it says only 1 million boxes sold.

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