By the end of 2008 Freesat, the subscription free satellite television service, had achieved over 200,000 sales since its launch in May 2008. Having reported sales of 100,000 in September 2008, total sales of Freesat doubled in the final quarter of 2008 against the backdrop of challenging times on the high street.
Freesat is seen as an excellent choice in the current economic climate, with consumers attracted to Freesat's subscription-free offer, preferring to avoid costly monthly TV bills in return for brilliant quality TV and a wide range of free channels.
Standard Definition (SD) boxes currently sell for under 50 and with HD boxes now priced below the 99 mark, Freesat offers over 140 channels and services, including HD programming for a low one-off payment.
Emma Scott, MD of Freesat commented; "We saw consumers increasingly drawn to Freesat at the end of last 2008 and into this year. The quality and choice of channels and services available and the added benefits offered by Freesat+ have really struck a chord."
HD in 2008
Freesat's offer of subscription-free TV with high quality HD programming from the BBC and ITV has been a key factor in the strong sales increase of HD set top boxes, with 61% of Freesat's 'customer panel' specifying HD as their primary reason for purchasing.
In the latter half of 2008, viewers were offered a wide selection of HD programming via Freesat including UEFA Champions League, England internationals and FA Cup matches on ITV HD - exclusive to Freesat. The BBC HD channel offered some firm family favourites like Strictly Come Dancing, Heroes, The Royle Family and Wallace & Gromit.
Further HD programming is due on Freesat in early 2009, including Lark Rise to Candleford, Hustle, Anne Frank and the Rugby 6 Nations on the BBC HD channel and the FA Cup and Champions League will be gathering pace on ITV HD.
Emma Scott continues: "Freesat is able to offer incredible HD with no subscription. We're thrilled that both the BBC and ITV are investing more in HD programming in 2009."
Emma Scott concludes "As we approach Freesat's first anniversary in May 2009, we're in an extremely strong position to build on our early successes. Key goals in 2009 include increasing our product range and distribution by the quality and choice of channels and services available, and the anticipated launch of IPTV services, like BBC iPlayer onto Freesat later this year."