Freeview helps Aus DTT take-up

New digital channel launches and information campaigns have given digital-terrestrial take-up in Australia a major boost, with penetration rising by six percentage points over just three months.

Key results of the governmentís Digital Tracker Survey for April to June 2009 show that at the end of the quarter, more than half of Australian homes Ė 53% - had converted to free-to-air digital TV broadcasts, up from 47% at the end of the previous quarter.

And almost all Australian homes (93%) are now aware of digital switchover, up from 82% in the previous quarter. Switchover is set for completion before the end of 2013, starting in the Sunraysia/Mildura area of Victoria in the first half of next year.

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said: "There is still a significant challenge ahead but evidence shows strong community awareness and satisfaction with the improved picture and sound quality, new content and new channels."

The quarter saw the launch of the Freeview brand in Australia, with a national marketing campaign across all of the free-to-air channels, both public service and commercial. SBS Two also launched, the ABC announced its fully-funded plans for childrenís channel ABC3, and Nine Network geared up for the launch of it digital channel, Go!. Tenís free-to-air digital service, One, launched just prior to the measured period, on March 26, but that channelís launch is also likely to have been reflected in the good take-up figures.