MEDIA: BBC hails rise in Freeview households

The BBC will this week report that it expects the number of households with Freeview to reach 2.5 million by the end of this year, boosted by its availability at retailers such as Boots and Asda.

Sales of free digital service Freeview are running at an all-time high of 100,000 a week in the approach to Christmas, according to the BBC.

This compares with peak sales of 55,000 a week last year.

The BBC claims that the growth of Freeview, alongside that of satellite and cable, means more than half of all UK households now have access to digital television.

Ilse Howling, the BBC's head of digital marketing and communications, believes the success of Freeview is due to aiming at those who want an easy way of getting extra TV without having to subscribe.

She attributes the current sales uplift to Freeview being available in mainstream high-street retailers such as Asda, Sainsbury's, Boots and Woolworths, in addition to electrical outlets including Curry's and Dixons.

The uptake of Freeview may also have benefited from the BBC's high-profile digital campaign launched in October, which promotes the BBC's digital TV channels and their availability on all digital TV platforms.

The latest work has resulted in more than two million viewers using the BBC's digital information line and web pages, compared with one million for the same period last year.

The latest activity, through dfgw, comprises ads featuring a monkey stripping away its face to reveal TV personalities explaining Freeview, and a daytime spot starring TV presenter Suzy Perry.

Howling said it aimed to address consumer confusion by using different ads to talk about content, programmes and how to get digital TV.

She added that the BBC will continue to tackle confusion and aims to boost uptake among the 13.5 million homes that have yet to switch.

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