Freesat to outpace Sky in 21st consecutive quarter of growth

Freesat, the UK’s free-to-air digital satellite television provider, today reported its 21st quarter of consecutive growth, adding 145,000 homes to the service in the last twelve months.

The continued growth of the subscription free service jointly owned by BBC and ITV is expected to outpace Pay-TV rivals, Sky and Virgin Media, in the same period.

Now in its sixth year of operation, Freesat provides free entertainment to 4 million viewers a week across 1.8 million homes in the UK.

As well as enjoying quality programming for free, people are increasingly using Freesat’s products to enhance the TV and radio they love. Last month, a record breaking number of Freesat viewers tuned in to watch 12 million hours of Glastonbury coverage in HD.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director commented:

Our continued strong results show thousands of people making the smart choice of Freesat as the alternative to expensive TV contracts. As take up across the UK has increased, so has our offer. We now provide more than 150 HD and standard definition TV, radio and interactive channels, offering live pause, record, a market leading catch up service through our Backwards TV Guide, plus BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD.

We continue to add new channels and on demand services and invest in cutting edge technology. We will soon deliver more features to our next generation <free time> service, including the addition of Demand 5, a remote app for smart phones, and in the future, additional movie and music channels.

Freesat has now sold 3.3 million set top boxes and TVs, far exceeding original sales projections, taking gross retail sales value to over £1.2 billion since launch in May 2008.

98 thoughts on “Freesat to outpace Sky in 21st consecutive quarter of growth”

  1. Andy Clayton
    I’m slightly baffled by the calls for ITV to bring 2, 3 and 4 in HD to Freesat. I take the point that they’re part owners and should be supporting a platform they have a stake in but don’t they mostly show repeats of old content on those channels? A bit like the point someone made about CBS – not much to be gained in having it in HD. Having said that, I’m not the best person to comment. I don’t think I’ve ever watched ITV 2 and 3 and probably watch some football on ITV 4 about once a year. I’ll get my coat…

    ITV2 has plenty of recent HD material, ITV3 has film shot drama, ITV plenty HD sport and all three show feature films which are innately high definition, so there is good reason to have HD variants, its just a question of ITV showing willing when the contract with SKY comes up for renewal AFAIK.

  2. alexander said:
    I believe that the BBC has been work for the european HD channel ARTE. If so it could be tempted to join FREESAT!

    What ARTE would gain from it? – a shed load of extra costs for adding 28E to their transmission portfolio, for very little benefit. The audience figures would be very low as most of their progs are in French & German, and to be honest anyone who is vaguely interested can spend about 100 quid and get them off 19E instead.

  3. The £10 box for NowTV that Sly is launching also has Demand 5 yet the £214.90 Freetime box dosen’t. Something stinks there.

  4. Richard Crichton said:
    The £10 box for NowTV that Sly is launching also has Demand 5 yet the £214.90 Freetime box dosen’t. Something stinks there.

    Don’t forget Sky is subsidizing these boxes, they don’t also have ITV Player and 4OD on them so freesat have them against this cheap offering by digger!

  5. Don’t forget that ARTE is a culture channel which FREESAT doe’s not have. There must be spare space to include the english language if not on 19e pan-european then ask if they will join FREESAT. Then it could still carry the french & german soundtrack for any ex-pats.

  6. Neil said: Don’t forget Sky is subsidizing these boxes, they don’t also have ITV Player and 4OD on them so freesat have them against this cheap offering by digger!

    Get Sky Sports for a bargain £3640 a year via NowTv 😀

  7. alexander said:
    Don’t forget that ARTE is a culture channel which FREESAT doe’s not have. There must be spare space to include the english language if not on 19e pan-european then ask if they will join FREESAT. Then it could still carry the french & german soundtrack for any ex-pats.

    Freesat had The Space connected culture channel for over a year but there wasn’t enough demand (apparently) so it’s gone.

  8. Keith Cobby said:
    Presumably the IPL cricket on ITV4 would be in HD?

    Indeed it would if ITV cared about Freesat more than their bottom line which seems unlikely until Freesat has many more viewers.

  9. Richard Crichton said: Freesat had The Space connected culture channel for over a year but there wasn’t enough demand (apparently) so it’s gone.

    One of the reasons for lack of demand, was that it was never made available on the new freetime boxes!

  10. Once the new satellites are in full operation then i am sure more channels will ether join or rejoin.

  11. Richard Crichton said: Indeed it would if ITV cared about Freesat more than their bottom line which seems unlikely until Freesat has many more viewers.

    There’s a glimmer of hope Richard if ITV get on-board the new DTT HD Mux’s but we’ll have to wait and see.

    I watched a bit of Arise this morning and the channel has now got a daytime anchor with rolling news and sport so is slowly coming together as a full-time news channel. We might see this on the platform this week as it’s launch must now be imminent.

  12. alexander said:
    Once the new satellites are in full operation then i am sure more channels will ether join or rejoin.

    Dont bet on it – theres plenty of capacity on Astra 2F to have additional spotbeam frequencies up and running *right now* if the broadcasters so wanted it.

  13. Is there any now channels coming soon , I have heard about Arise HD on here not my cup of tea but some people may like it ,

    So is there any real channels coming soon ??????????

  14. Big Adam said: Errr, I think you are forgetting to multiply by the number of viewers?
    D’oh!

    So if all 60 odd million of the UK population watched 1 hour of news then that would be, “60 million hours of news coverage”. Good old statistics!

  15. It would be nice if EUROSPORT HD & EUROSPORT NEWS HD were to join FREESAT, They would encourage UKTV to show their own channels such as dave, gold, alibi, yesterday, edan and watch.

  16. CBS channels would be nice in HD but there is hardly anything in HD to show on it;most of the backcatalogue (except 35mm film to PAL videotape copies for broadcast) is mainly old NTSC-PAL standards converted analogue videotape shows which when broadcast in DVB MPEG2 format on satellite/cable/terrestrial look gritty very bitty and quite noisy.

  17. alexander said:
    It would be nice if EUROSPORT HD & EUROSPORT NEWS HD were to join FREESAT, They would encourage UKTV to show their own channels such as dave, gold, alibi, yesterday, edan and watch.

    It would be nice if lots of pay channels joined Freesat but it aint going to happen unless Freesat gets 10 million viewers which is very unlikely before Digger tv goes bust.

  18. Glyn said:
    More choice of freetime set top boxes need, i bought a humax freetime box very buggy had take it back to store. I have had a freesat humax box for many years an it is brilliant. I think its been rushed on to the market without testing.

    My Humax freetime box is running perfectly with the latest software update. I was expecting god knows what with all the positive AND negative reviews. There seems to have been a few with HDD problems, but I’ve for my fingers crossed this will stay as good as it has been. I’m impressed after ditching SKY

  19. PSB broadcasters have a small victory today, particularly the BBC and ITV, as the DCMS have published a document detailing forthcoming consultation where they plan to force Sky to scrap all retransmission fees for PSB’s, currently worth £9.5m/yr to Sky and will put some dosh back in to the PSB’s coffers. It’s absurd that Sky charge this amount to PSB’s and so it’s going to change.

    The report is here for anyone interested:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225783/Connectivity_Content_and_Consumers_2013.pdf

  20. alexander said:
    It would be nice if EUROSPORT HD & EUROSPORT NEWS HD were to join FREESAT, They would encourage UKTV to show their own channels such as dave, gold, alibi, yesterday, edan and watch.

    Never going to happen via satellite. Theres only 1 fta version of Eurosport in the whole of Europe, and thats a historical accident (Germany). Sports coverage is expensive even for the reasonably minority sports ES covers.

    And you are whistling in the wind for the UKTV stuff.

  21. Dave said:
    Is there any now channels coming soon , I have heard about Arise HD on here not my cup of tea but some people may like it ,
    So is there any real channels coming soon ??????????

    What – the 5 forthcoming BBC HD channels not enough for you?

  22. Hi I want The Box and Kerrang to be 16:9 not 4:3 on freesat+ boxes. I want Box television to adjust these channels please.

  23. Don’t forget that BT SPORT has taken half of SKY’s sport system including sport1, sport2 and ESPN.

  24. David Pugh said:
    Hi I want The Box and Kerrang to be 16:9 not 4:3 on freesat+ boxes. I want Box television to adjust these channels please.

    Why dont you contact them via their website(s) – no point whinging on here, its nowt to do with Freesat – its the channels responsibility what comes out of their playout suites!

  25. alexander said:
    Don’t forget that BT SPORT has taken half of SKY’s sport system including sport1, sport2 and ESPN.

    Err no they havent – your maths is well awry….. The only channel BT could even vaguely have said to have “taken away from Sky” is ESPN – the two BT channels are newly launched services

    Anyway whats this got to do with Freesat? The BT stuff is encrypted 😀

  26. Neil said:
    PSB broadcasters have a small victory today, particularly the BBC and ITV, as the DCMS have published a document detailing forthcoming consultation where they plan to force Sky to scrap all retransmission fees for PSB’s, currently worth £9.5m/yr to Sky and will put some dosh back in to the PSB’s coffers. It’s absurd that Sky charge this amount to PSB’s and so it’s going to change.
    The report is here for anyone interested:
    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225783/Connectivity_Content_and_Consumers_2013.pdf

    Good news if it happens but Sky should be paying for the PSB channels. Why should they get them for nothing? After all they are the most watched channels on their rip off platform.

  27. Richard Crichton said: Good news if it happens but Sky should be paying for the PSB channels. Why should they get them for nothing? After all they are the most watched channels on their rip off platform.

    Couldn’t agree more, good to see this is a start but will be something I’ll raise when they ask for respondents to their consultation. Charging the PSB’s would, to me, give reasonable compensation to them for the fact they’ve been ripped off by Sky for platform inclusion for the last 10 or so years.

    At least Sky will take a £9.5m hit, they’ll have to claw that back from their dear subscribers in the form of further subs hikes!

  28. alexander said:
    Doe’s this mean that PSB AMERICA will join FREESAT instead of paying SKY for coverage.

    No, they are encrypted to make money from abroad (i.e. here in the UK).

  29. Regarding PSB’s and retransmission fees…

    The following item reveals that as much a three-quarters of Sky subscribers watch non-pay channels provided by the main terrestrial broadcasters. It is quite telling that of the remaining quarter of paid-for channels, loyalty to any one channels is quite low (and 5% of that is for fta channel viewing).

    http://www.ukfree.tv/fullstory.php?storyid=1107051881

  30. RTE / TV3 INTERNATIONAL

    Is it posible for the above broadcasters to join force and show both their own programes together on a pan-european footspot that cover’s ireland and uk.

  31. My question to Freesat is how many of its customers have bt broadband/ infinity. Is this something that could be free for those sports fans!!!!

  32. Kevin McFarlane said:

    CBS channels in HD? No doubt, some think those channels are rubbish but each to their own.

    CBS channels do have some good content but are let down by poor PQ and constant repeats.

    The biggest trouble is all the repeats and they’ve dropped new content from some of the best shows such as Bondi Rescue.

    I used to watch CBS Reality a lot. Now I watch Judge Judy when there’s nothing else on and that’s about it.

    Cops is great but its nearly always repeats – 1 new series a year.

    Bondi Rescue is great – but now its just the old series repeated over and over again as they’ve stopped buying the new series. So same series over and over again for the last 2-3 years.

    If CBS ever want to popularise their channels and get higher up the EPG, they really need to provide more new content on Reality.

    It seems the money is now getting spent on Sc-Fi on CBS Action instead and nothing new is coming onto Reality. Great if you’re a Trekkie, not so great if you’re not.

    I hardly ever watch Reality any more whereas previously it was my favourite channel.

    CBS also own the Extreme Channel but still choose to hide this behind Pay TV on Sky despite huge demand for Sport on Freesat.

  33. Andy Clayton said:
    Darth @ 17 – who knows? This is the first indication (as far as I’m aware) that we’ve had from Freesat directly that some kind of “remote app” is on the cards. It could just be some kind of remote control app (which wouldn’t be anything to write home about, frankly) but out of small acorns etc. We’ll just have to watch this space and see what happens!
    I’m slightly baffled by the calls for ITV to bring 2, 3 and 4 in HD to Freesat. I take the point that they’re part owners and should be supporting a platform they have a stake in but don’t they mostly show repeats of old content on those channels? A bit like the point someone made about CBS – not much to be gained in having it in HD. Having said that, I’m not the best person to comment. I don’t think I’ve ever watched ITV 2 and 3 and probably watch some football on ITV 4 about once a year. I’ll get my coat…
    How do Freesat come up with their figures? I guess it can only be through sales of Freesat enabled equipment. STB’s is fair enough – you’re hardly likely to buy a STB and then not use it, but Freesat enabled TV’s are another matter. You might buy one and then hook up an inferior platform (like $ky, Virgin Media or YouView/Freeview). I wonder what percentage of the figures are STB sales?

    There are some good films and football on those channels occasionally though, so worth having for that.

    Maybe if ITV can sell ITV to Sky instead of them having to give it away for free, (see PSB retransmission fees debate), they might be in a position to put 2,3,4 HD on Freesat for free.

  34. I think now that the BBC have made a commitment to put all their channels in HD FTA on all platforms, considering they are ITV’s closest competitor on all platforms too then I think the chances of ITV’s 2 – 4 HD going FTA is now a higher probability than any time in the last three years of the channels existence. Not saying it’s a dead cert but HD is maturing and with BBC Three soon to be available nationally on all platforms, including their PSB3 HD mux on DTT, then there’s hope! Would be a good ccommitment to their support of freesat too.

  35. alexander said:
    RTE / TV3 INTERNATIONAL
    Is it posible forthe above broadcasters to join force and show both their own programes together on a pan-european footspot that cover’s ireland and uk.

    No chance whatsoever bud, RTE is about bankrupt – they were going to launch an international service a couple of years back, but it got scrapped due to their financial crisis.

  36. Rosco said: No chance whatsoever bud, RTE is about bankrupt – they were going to launch an international service a couple of years back, but it got scrapped due to their financial crisis.

    Yeah I remember the proposed RTE International service;it was going to launch free-to-air on Freesat/Sky via Eurobird1 on the fixed Western and Central European footprint serving the UK Ireland and much of continental mainland Europe. It would have been interesting.

  37. I see demand 5 is now on freesat hurray

    Well done freesat just a few more entertainment channels and then we’re sorted

    I was gonna list the channels I would like to see but thought better off it 🙂

  38. Anthony said: Yeah I remember the proposed RTE International service;it was going to launch free-to-air on Freesat/Sky via Eurobird1 on the fixed Western and Central European footprint serving the UK Ireland and much of continental mainland Europe. It would have been interesting.

    Yeah well its not going to happen anytime soon so theres no point fretting about it.

    You can always watch The Holiday & Cruise Channel instead – launches on Freesat 409 on 27th Aug. 😀

  39. Rosco said: Yeah well its not going to happen anytime soon so theres no point fretting about it.
    You can always watch The Holiday & Cruise Channel instead – launches on Freesat 409 on 27th Aug.

    could RTE , TV3 and SETENA join up for 28e?

  40. ASTRA appear’s to be testing a Ka band on the new 2E pointing at the UK. Doe’s anyone know if the BBC are running test’s on this band ?

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