Freeview hits 2 million in 1st Year



Freeview celebrated its first birthday on Thursday (30 October) with the news that some 2 million UK homes now have the digital terrestrial service.

Marking the occasion, the BBC launched one of its biggest-ever marketing campaigns: it also predicted that it was 'possible' that Freeview would be in 4 million UK homes by the end of next year. There's an important added boost for the service with the news that prices for integrated digital television sets (iDTV's are dropping.

The new ad campaign has surprised some observers by featuring monkeys - an animals always linked with Freeview's ill-fated predecessor ITVDigital. The new campaign goes live across television, radio and online. Viewers will see Alan Titchmarsh, Pauline Quirke, Jack Dee and Ainsley Harriott monkeying around in the jungle courtesy of some crafty puppets.

The BBC says that the trails are based on a new strategy to cut through consumer confusion about digital TV: one set of trails will concentrate on how to get the BBC's digital channels, and the other will showcase the range of 'must-see' programmes available tailored to different audiences. Previously content and access messages were rolled into one trail.

Ilse Howling, Head of BBC Digital Marketing and Communications, said: "ITC figures show that digital take-up has increased by 7.5 percentage points in the last year to 45.5% of homes across all platforms - this represents a 20 percent growth in the digital market as a whole.

"I'm delighted that our campaign's helped play a part in achieving this because it means so many more people can watch our full line of channels. " She also said: that it was "possible" that Freeview would be in 4 million homes - or nearly 1 in 6 UK households - at the end of 2004.