ITV Digital On Air And On Target

19th July 2001

ITV Digital (formerly ONdigital) today reported an increase of 48,000 subscribers for the quarter ended 30 June 2001, bringing the total as at 30 June to 1,135,000.

The highlights are as follows:

  • 48,000 new subscribers this quarter; on target for breakeven
  • 400 pubs per week sign up for ITV Digital
  • Annualised churn below forecast at 23 per cent
  • Successful rebranding on 11 July with new advertising campaign
  • Strategic marketing partnership formed with BT
  • Pay per view offering unveiled: 60 matches next season for £3 a month
  • ITV Active partners with over 100 portal brands

Stuart Prebble, Chief Executive of ITV said:

"These are solid figures. We are delivering against our targets. The rebranding is a major step in the evolution of this business and the decision to put the powerful ITV brand behind the platform is an indication of our shareholders' commitment to it.
"ITV Sport Channel is the first new premium sports channel for a decade and offers our customers the best value available on pay TV, with more high quality, live football than any other channel. Demand for the channel is already strong from our subscribers, and from subscribers to other platforms.
"We are continuing to expand our coverage and have recently added another 1.1 million households to core coverage. We believe that the digital transmitter power increase tests will lead to further improvements, which will improve reception and help to reduce churn."

Subscriber Numbers

ITV Digital's total subscribers as at 30 June were 1,135,000. Annualised churn at the end of the quarter was 23%. The rise of 48,000 for the quarter is in line with subscription targets. In the first two weeks of the new quarter sales have continued at similar levels, in one of the traditionally quietest periods of the year. Early signs are that advertising for the new brand has been well received.

Sales and Marketing

New brand launched

The ITV Digital brand launched on 11 July with a new advertising campaign running on television, outdoor media and in the national press. In addition, as a launch promotion, ITV Digital sponsored the Saturday night entertainment line-up on ITV on 14 July, broadening the reach of the new brand to the mass ITV audience.

New offer to BT customers

On 11 July ITV Digital and BT announced a new strategic partnership, under which BT will market an ITV Digital subscription package to its customers. BT subscribers will be able to get all ITV Digital's primary channels, the ITV Sport Channel and all ITV Digital's pay per view football for just £19.99 a month; a saving of £3 a month. This offer will also be open to existing ITV Digital customers who have or who transfer to a BT phone service.

Commercial sales to pubs and bars

The new ITV Sport Channel is proving a major draw to pubs and hotels. Deals have already been signed with Bass Leisure Retail, Scottish and Newcastle, Punch, Fullers, Whitbread and the newly formed Laurel Pub Company to increase ITV Digital's penetration in their estates. Over 400 pubs are being signed up each week in the run up to the new football season, making significant inroads into this £100 million a year market.


ITV Sport Channel

ITV Sport Channel, the first premium sport channel to be launched for a decade will go on air on 11 August at the start of the Nationwide Football League season. It will carry live matches from the UEFA Champions League, the Nationwide Football League and the Worthington Cup for £6.99 a month. Subscribers to the channel will also be able to buy a season ticket to 40 FA Barclaycard Premiership and 20 Nationwide League pay per view matches for another £3 a month, around 50 pence per match, offering better value than rival platforms. ITV Digital customers can also subscribe to Sky Sports 1, 2 and 3, giving them the most comprehensive British football coverage of any pay TV service.

All football matches covered by ITV Sport Channel will also offer ITV Digital customers the option of enhanced or interactive services. The enhanced service for the UEFA Champions League last season proved popular with viewers. Nearly 40 per cent of customers used it with 90 per cent of these finding it easy to use and three-quarters finding it improved their viewing experience. Next season, the UEFA Champions League enhanced service will build on this, while both Nationwide League and Worthington Cup will be enhanced with exciting new services.

New Games channel

Two Way TV is the new name for ITV Digital's games service. Operating on Channel 46, it offers cash prizes to games players and expects to offer pay per play and multi-payer gaming by the end of the year. It launches with Two Way's Ski Bob and Aqueduct games.

Interactive Services

ITV Active (formerly ONnet) continues to grow. It now has over 100 portal partner brands, with recent additions including Tesco's online grocery service, Northern Rock, offering loan discounts for ITV Active customers, Fish4, Dateline, House of Chocolate and Holiday Autos.

On average ITV Active customers use the service more frequently and for longer than the average PC user. ITV Active is now available as a stand-alone service, without an ITV Digital subscription, although at a higher subscription than that paid by ITV Digital customers.

Notes to Editors

  1. Of the 1,135,000 total at the end of June 2001, 30,000 have signed contracts but are yet to activate their smartcards or have been installed without subscriptions, mainly in dealers, for demonstration purposes. The figure is slightly lower than the last quarter.
  2. Services subject to coverage, status and terms. Some services require connection to a telephone line.