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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 11:40 GMT
Viewers desert ITV Digital
ITV Digital logo
ITV Digital: Subscribers disconnect in droves
Embattled digital television operation ITV Digital saw churn rise to almost 25% as subscriber growth slowed.

In the last three months of 2001, the operation - a joint venture by Granada and Carlton - added 46,000 new subscribers, a fall from the 82,000 gained between July and September.

ITV Digital churn
Dec 2001: 24.9%
Sept 2001: 23.1%
June 2001: 23%
Source: ITV Digital
The increase in disconnections, to 24.9% from 23.1% in the previous period, means that if the rest of the year were to reflect this quarter nearly one in four users would give up their subscriptions over the 12-month period.

It is likely to get worse before it gets better. Churn will rise to 30% later this year before improving, a company spokesman predicted.

In a bid to cut costs, the company will lay off 600 people, instead of the previously announced 550, at its Plymouth call centre.

More customers

ITV Digital now has 1,263,000 customers, up from 1,217,000 at the end of September.

Although the pace of subscriber acquisition has slowed, it was nonetheless better than some analysts had been expecting.

"Our plan since April has been to deliver steady growth in subscribers and to control our cost base. These results demonstrate that we are achieving that aim," said managing director Rob Fyfe.

ITV Digital aims to reduce churn to 20% by the end of 2003 and to break even by 2004.

Carlton shares gained 1p to 207.5p while Granada shares gained 2.25p to 120.25 by 0835 GMT.

See also:

14 Dec 01 | Business
ITV Digital to cut 550 jobs
28 Nov 01 | Business
Analysis: ITV Digital's troubles
28 Nov 01 | Business
Digital woes cost Granada jobs
03 Nov 01 | TV and Radio
Television storms satellite frontiers
25 Oct 01 | Business
ITV Digital defies sceptics
28 Sep 01 | Business
Digital TV's commercial woes
02 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Making sense of digital TV
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