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Westminster eForum: Digital Dividend and Switchover

by User Not Found | Jan 30, 2008

Today in London the Westminster eForum held a seminar assessing the progress of the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial television and the issues arising from the availability of released spectrum, the so-called Digital Dividend. I was particularly interested in comments from Ford Ennals, who has been Chief Executive of Digital UK for the past three years and is shortly to step down from this role. Ford gave us a brief insight into lessons learned from the UK's first stage of digital switchover, which took place in Whitehaven in November last year. Much of the discussion at the seminar focused inevitably on DTT, but I was particularly interested in the impact of analogue switch-off in Whitehaven on digital satellite TV (DSTV). Whitehaven never had DTT until 2007, and only four terrestrial analogue channels and no cable service, so ownership of DSTV was already high - somewhere near 70% of homes. But during the whole switchover process, 40% of analogue viewers chose to install satellite instead of DTT. Most interesting, according to Ennals, the "vast majority" chose to pay for one of Sky's packages, where they clearly had not been paying for TV previously. Sky also benefited from a rapid rise in adoption of Sky+, its PVR service. Jamie Reed, the local Member of Parliament, confirmed that Sky had run a "very aggressive campaign" during the run-up to switchover, in fact too aggressive at one point as it was forced by the Advertising Standards Authority to withdraw one of its claims. At first sight this would appear to be a lucrative opportunity for Sky as the entire UK switches off analogue TV over the next four years. Whitehaven was a relatively unusual example where DTT was not previously available and DSTV penetration already very high. Nevertheless it confirms our previous analysis that the analogue terrestrial switchoff is likely to benefit Sky, cable (where available) and even IPTV providers, as well as the Freeview DTT platform. Client Reading: HDTV and DTT: The Impact Of Platform Evolution Decisions On HDTV Adoption Scenarios Add to Technorati Favorites
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