Freesat reaches 1.84m homes

May 6, 2014 06.54 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Freesat-App-Showcase-16.01.14Freesat is closing in on two million homes after the free-to-air platform added a further 18,000 homes in the first quarter.

The subscription free satellite service argued viewers were turning away from “expensive pay-TV packages”, though with Sky numbers rising and Virgin yet to report there is little sign that the appetite for pay-TV is diminishing.

Six years since its launch, Freesat is now available in 1.84 million households. Its Freesat and Freetime boxes giving viewers access to over 200 channels.

Freesat’s connected TV service Freetime 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.

A new agreement withPanasonic means that Freetime is the preferred TV guide in the new range of VIERA TVs, across both Freesat and its terrestrial equivalent Freeview. 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.

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.”

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.