Freeview will reach 2 million users next month and is on track to reach up to 4 million by the end of next year, overtaking the number of households in the UK receiving cable television.
Speaking at a Media Seminar held at Lehman Brothers in the City, BBC director of marketing and communications Andy Duncan claimed that sales of Freeview adapters are running at more than 100,000 a month.
He also claimed that the service, which has 1.8 million users, is expected to reach 2 million by the end of next month, ahead of its first anniversary.
He says: “It is the future that is interesting. Certainly by the end of next year we will have got to 3 million or even 4 million.”
Duncan claims Freeview users will outnumber those households receiving cable TV, currently standing at 3.2 million.
Duncan adds: “Once you get to 4 million homes there is economic potential to switch a pay channel to free, or for it to develop a strong second channel on the platform.”
At the Royal Television Society’s conference in Cambridge last week, BSkyB admitted that it would launch a mainstream entertainment channel on Freeview to compete with ITV and Five if the platform lived up to its potential.
Channel 4 also confirmed last week that it would be launching a new channel on Freeview to be called More4, targeted at an audience of 35- to 54-year-olds.
Nearly three-quarters of Freeview’s users are new to digital, with 65 per cent aged over 35 and 32 per cent above 55, giving the platform an older skew than pay TV.