UK digital terrestrial operator Freeview is seeing huge demand for its services. Since launching just over a month ago, the free-to-air service, operated by the BBC and Crown Castle, has received over one million requests for information about its service.
Freeview offers 30 channels free to viewers, and is already looking more successful than ITV Digital the Granada and Carlton pay-TV service that went bust earlier this year.
Around 400,000 calls have been made to Freeview’s telephone information line, whilst there have been 600,000 unique visitors recorded to the accompanying website.
Although the vast majority of Freeview viewers are currently using old ITV Digital boxes, industry estimates suggest over 65,000 new Freeview boxes were sold in the first two weeks of the service becoming available. In contrast ITV Digital attracted only 110,000 subscribers 16 weeks after launching as onDigital in November 1999.
Retailers are now struggling to replenish stocks of Freeview boxes in the run up to Christmas.
Of course it’s early days yet, but we’re delighted that the first signs for Freeview are so positive, said Andy Duncan, the BBC’s director of marketing. And we’re very pleased that already so many more people can watch the BBC’s digital channels. People are clearly responding well to the idea of free, simple digital television.