Viewers Switch off Terrestrial Television

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN CLERKIN

MILLIONS of television viewers deserted terrestrial channels this year and switched to digital, figures have revealed.

Booming sales of Freeview boxes mean that almost three-quarters of homes now watch digital TV on their main set.

More than 1.4million boxes were sold between July and September according to media regulator Ofcom, meaning 18.5million homes now have digital.

ITV's audience share plummeted by 9 per cent to 19.7 per cent, BBC1's fell by 2 per cent to 22.7 per cent, BBC2's dropped by 6 per cent to 8.8 per cent and Five's decreased by 11 per cent to 5.7 per cent.

Channel 4, which released the figures, was the only terrestrial broadcaster to increase its share from 9.7 per cent last year to 9.8 per cent, partly thanks to the success of Deal Or No Deal.

Ofcom said digital television's success was due almost entirely to Freeview, which can be bought for as little as [pounds sterling]40 and does not have subscription fees. …