Strong quarterly growth for Freesat as pay viewers switch over to Freetime

Freesat, the subscription free satellite TV service, has announced a good start to 2014, adding 18,000 homes as budget-conscious consumers switched away from expensive pay TV packages.

Freesat, which celebrates the sixth anniversary of its launch this week, is now available in 1.84 million households, and is watched by more than 3.8 million viewers every week. During the quarter, the big hits with the Freesat audience included the Winter Olympics from Sochi, Call the Midwife, Gogglebox, Mr Selfridge and, of course, Sherlock.

Freesat’s continuing growth demonstrates the strong appeal of premium TV on a subscription-free basis. With a Freesat box, viewers have access to over 200+ TV and radio channels, more than with any other free-to-air provider.

Freesat’s connected TV service Freetime has consistently delivered strong growth since its launch in 2012. The latest quarterly figures highlight that it now accounts for 41% of all Freesat set top box sales, and sales of Freetime boxes more than doubled year-on year. The award-winning service offers access to On Demand players, and allows viewers to pause and rewind live programmes and roll-back the TV guide to watch shows from the past seven days.

During the quarter, Freesat also announced a landmark partnership with Panasonic, which means that Freetime is the preferred TV guide in the new range of VIERA TVs, now on sale in the UK. For the first time ever the benefits of Freetime are available to both Freeview and Freesat viewers. In addition, Freesat agreed a partnership with Vestel, the global TV manufacturer, which will see Freetime included on a wide range of televisions and set top boxes, including those sold by Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Argos. Vestel is also the biggest volume supplier to John Lewis and Dixons.

Demand for Freesat’s mobile app has been strong with total downloads of over 200,000 since launching just over 100 days ago. The app works as a remote control, acts as a guide to what’s on TV, and lets viewers set recordings remotely. The app was recommended as a ‘Best New App’ on Apple’s App Store.

Emma Scott, Freesat’s Managing Director, commented:

I’m delighted that Freesat’s strong 2013 momentum has continued into the first quarter of 2014. Free TV has never been so vibrant or compelling. TV fans are switching on to our Freetime service and switching away from pay TV and the expensive contracts that go with it.

I’m proud to see that Freetime has been adopted by leading television manufacturers such as Panasonic and Vestel, demonstrating that Freesat remains at the forefront of the connected TV market. The huge popularity of our award winning mobile app shows that Freesat matches anything available from pay TV companies.

68 thoughts on “Strong quarterly growth for Freesat as pay viewers switch over to Freetime”

  1. Oh and as for the 3 million quote 3 million sales over 6years dosent equate to 3 million regular viewers today.As I said, how do you know that a % of those haven’t since switched to virgin, BT, or heaven forbib back to sky as individual finances improve . Remember many people have left sky due to a downturn in earnings not because they love free tv. If you want to watch game of thrones, hannibal, bates motel etc then your going to opt for pay tv.Yes theres netflix, blinkbox, amazon where you can buy individual episodes or boxsets but its no cheaper than a pay tv package in the long term.

  2. Maybe I should explain that much as I love freesat I really dont think that it will ever be more than a minority platform, appealing to sat enthusiasts and pay tv refuseniks. The population at large dont think that deeply about how there tv picture arrives at there screen,where It comes from, or whether there’s an alternative to how they watch tv.Some on this forum seem almost evangelical in there devotion to freesat and snooty attitude to freeview in particular is baffling to me.How many of your friends and family has anybody convinced to switch to freesat. Would love to know?

  3. David, you were kindly asked to stop debating this point and agreed, yet have continued to do so. When I closed the commenting option on this particular news story, you carried on on other pages instead! I’ve had to put a stop to this, not because your view isn’t valid, but because you have a clear agenda given you failed to respect the request of the site.

  4. Admin.ok, just debating the merits of freesat vs freeview and pay tv, if censorship is your answer to this then thats your privilege. Seems a sore point to point out facts and truths so people can make a informed decision based on this and not the anti everything else present on this forum.Love freesat, hate the political agenda present here.Of elsewhere, free of censorship. Understand if I was offensive, I wasn’t, just deliberately provocative.

  5. I’ve allowed David’s last point to be added here, but this has been discussed at great length with him and the obvious reasons why as a Freesat exclusive website, the opinions of myself and others are going to be largely in favour of Freesat! David has posted a number of comments promoting YouView on this and other non-relevant pages after he had been asked (and agreed) to stop. YouView has its merits, just like any other platform, but ultimately we are not here to tell visitors to buy another platforms services, but to point out the advantages of Freesat and what it has to offer.

  6. There’s a new channel joining on the 10th June, Forces TV, run by SSVC (who run BFBS Radio and TV) and will be available on the platform. Not sure which genre this will go in to as they’ve not confirmed EPG number yet.

    https://twitter.com/forces_tv

  7. david said: Missing my point, im not pro or anti any tv platform, pay or fta.As I have said, there is much speculation about the future of freeview in its current format.There may be a slimming down of channels to make way for future mobile bandwidth, but shutting down completely would mean a new digital switchover and few freeview viewers have a dish already. As the majority of freeview viewer’s are elderly, or of limited finances who is going to pay for there sat equipment or isp charges if freeview is iptv only . Freeview maysurvive in its current format with a max of 50 plus ch from the psbs.That will probably surfice for most of freeviews 25 millionhouseholds who arnt fussed about platform politics or whetherfreesat is superior in quality to freeview.

    It’s going to happen eventually as it’s inevitable in my opinion. Once 4K and 8K become common place, where is the bandwidth going to come from on terrestrial?

    From memory I’m sure I read somewhere that 4K requires 30mbs. Isn’t the current HD rate around 8mbs and SD around 4mbs?

    If so, that may mean 4 HD channels or 8 SD channels are lost for every 4K channel added unless substantial codec gains are made once more.

    For 8K channels I think in NHK tests from this it was around 85mbs so you’d probably have to lose 11 HD channels or 22 SD channels for each 8K channel at that rate.

    I think it’s likely therefore that Freeview will switch to IP TV services in the future, something which will potentially then affect the elderly and those without internet in the same way.

    Personally, I’m a fan of broadcast. Once your reliant on the IP providers for your tv, its a licence to put internet service prices up through the roof in my opinion.

    Just my opinions though, nothing more nothing less.

  8. Don’t forget HEVC/H265 is twice as efficient as MPEG4/H264 so twice as many HD channels could use the same bandwidth as now and who is to say even more efficient codecs won’t appear.

  9. Al (Original) said: It’s going to happen eventually as it’s inevitable in my opinion. Once 4K and 8K become common place, where is the bandwidth going to come from on terrestrial?
    From memory I’m sure I read somewhere that 4K requires 30mbs. Isn’t the current HD rate around 8mbs and SD around 4mbs?
    If so, that may mean 4 HD channels or 8 SD channels are lost for every 4K channel added unless substantial codec gains are made once more.
    For 8K channels I think in NHK tests from this it was around 85mbs so you’d probably have to lose 11 HD channels or 22 SD channels for each 8K channel at that rate.
    I think it’s likely therefore that Freeview will switch to IP TV services in the future, something which will potentially then affect the elderly and those without internet in the same way.
    Personally, I’m a fan of broadcast. Once your reliant on the IP providers for your tv, its a licence to put internet service prices up through the roof in my opinion.
    Just my opinions though, nothing more nothing less.

    4k tv delivered on any platform is unlikely. Probably be internet only in my opinion

  10. David said: 4k tv delivered on any platform is unlikely. Probably be internet only in my opinion

    That’s not true as you’ll find out in due course. 4k can and will be delivered by Satellite, as Richard says above HEVC Coding offers much more efficient ways of delivering services at high bitrates. This is all still a fair while off so not much point really discussing it.

  11. Neil said: That’s not true as you’ll find out in due course. 4k can and will be delivered by Satellite, as Richard says above HEVC Coding offers much more efficient ways of delivering services at high bitrates. This is all still a fair while off so not much point really discussing it.

    Possible, but not likley, but as u say its a long way of so we will wait and see!

  12. For the average consumer it’s hard to convince them that Blu-ray is a step up from DVD, a lot of people think it is just another gimmick to part people from their money, so 4k/UHD is going to be an enthusiast platform for a long time to come and is likely to be expensive when it does arrive.

  13. RichardC said:
    For the average consumer it’s hard to convince them that Blu-ray is a step up from DVD, a lot of people think it is just another gimmick to part people from their money, so 4k/UHD is going to be an enthusiast platform for a long time to come and is likely to be expensive when it does arrive.

    Couldnt’t agree more, especially when Sky start marketing it too!

  14. well I have just got basic freesat from sky after cancelling subscription, you dont so many channels as you get on freeview. cant pause or nothing. I did purchase a sagem freesat box,which went back after 2 days as it was useless costing 149.00 every half an hour it froze and had to be switched frm the mains….. no itv player . to make this work you must be able to buy a box as good as sky box

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