ONdigital, the Pay TV and interactive services platform today announced its latest quarterly figures. As at March 31 2000 it had signed up 673,000 new customers, an increase of 22% since December 2000 and a fivefold increase in the year since 31 March 1999.
Stuart Prebble, ONdigital's Chief Executive says:
"It's been another excellent quarter. We are right on course to achieve our target of one million customers by the end of this year and two million by the end of 2002. ONdigital remains by far the easiest way to subscribe to Pay TV - no dish, no cable, no fuss.
"From our roots in mainstream TV we are the natural route for people in terrestrial homes to switch to digital.
"But we're more than a TV business. By the end of this year we'll bring the internet to our customers TVs, too. We are building an entirely new kind of media business. We're going from strength to strength."
ONmail, ONdigital's email service, launched on 7 March. Other than the initial cost of £30 for the keyboard, the only costs are local call charges, unlike the surcharged rate imposed by Open.
ONdigital's plans to launch full internet access later this year mean that Digital Terrestrial TV will be at the forefront of delivering a wide range of public and commercial services through the internet, helping the Prime Minister achieve his target of access to the internet for all by 2005.
ONdigital and Carlton Television will also start a trial airing of interactive programmes and advertisements from early May. The advertisers will include Procter & Gamble, the AA, M & G Securities and Onken yoghurt. The commercials will be shown on Carlton Food Network and on Carlton Cinema. It is intended to make extensive use of ONdigital's internet service when it is launched later this year.
ONdigital Prepaid continues to be a tremendous success in retailers. Customers have been continuing to flood into the shops to take advantage of ONdigital's innovative way to buy Pay-TV. As forecast, prepaid has created a whole new market for set top boxes, just as it did for mobile phones. The latest retailer to market ONdigital Prepaid is WH Smith, joining Sainsbury, CarPhone Warehouse, Dixons, Comet and other retailers. ONdigital boxes are also being successfully marketed door to door and through the internet.
Games have been significantly enhanced with the introduction of new games Pigloo and Treasure Hunt on the existing channel. A second games channel - ONgames2 - will launch shortly. From now on, games will be replaced at regular intervals.
In the last quarter ONdigital launched its new sport channels, ONsport1 and ONsport2 and signed up live and exclusive coverage of the ATP Masters men's tennis tournament (formerly known as the Mercedes 9). ONdigital continues to pursue sports rights as they become available and is currently studying the Premier League's tender document on bidding.
The addition of Discovery Kids and Wings channels also significantly strengthened ONdigital's channel line-up in the last quarter, bringing one of the biggest brands in pay TV to ONdigital.
ONrequest, ONdigital's joint venture pay-per-view service with SDN, will go on air at the start of May. Initially its programming will be major Hollywood movies, but in future it will also show Pay Per View sports and entertainment events.
Notes to Editors:
1 Of the 673,000 total, 16,000 households have signed contracts but are yet to activate their smartcards and 10,000 boxes have been installed without subscriptions, mainly in dealers, for demonstration purposes.
2 ONdigital is targeting 1 million subscribers during 2000 and 2 million during 2002.
3 Details of ONrequest's opening movies, pricing etc will be given closer to the launch date.