TNW Conference 2022 will be bigger, bolder, and better! Get your tickets now >>

The heart of tech

This article was published on September 7, 2011

    Satellite TV service Freesat surpasses 2 million users in the UK…half are Sky defecters

    Satellite TV service Freesat surpasses 2 million users in the UK…half are Sky defecters
    Paul Sawers
    Story by

    Paul Sawers

    Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.

    Freesat, the UK’s free-to-air digital satellite television service, says it has passed the 2 million customer mark, with almost half of its user-base jumping ship from BSkyB.

    Freesat is a not-for-profit joint venture between the BBC and ITV plc, launching to the public in May 2008. It offers a satellite alternative to the Freeview service on digital terrestrial television, with roughly the same selection of channels, and it also offers an alternative to Sky’s pay-TV digital satellite service, though with less channels available.

    As the Guardian reports, Freesat hit the 1m user mark in March 2010 and at the time it claimed that 40% of its users had shifted from BSkyB. And so far this year, Freesat claims that “a record 47% of its customers have come from Sky households so far in 2011”, and it has 2 million customers.

    Freesat offers over 150 digital TV and radio services, including free HD, freesat+ to record, pause and rewind, whilst TV-on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer and ITV Player are also included on the platform.

    Freesat managing director, Emma Scott, said:

    “We launched three years ago and in that short time have quickly established ourselves as a real challenger and genuine alternative to pay-TV. Freesat says gross retail sales are almost £1bn and it is the fastest-growing UK television platform.”

    Given that it’s a subscription-free service, this could help explain why some consumers would prefer Freesat to BSkyB. It’s thought that Freesat will soon start to offer pay-TV channels too such as films, but it’s not likely to enter into the live sports coverage market.

    Get the Uk newsletter