Digital switchover awareness rises

July 21, 2006

Awareness of digital switchover is increasing, and older viewers are the most aware of any group, according to new research by Digital UK and Ofcom. Digital UK, the public service broadcaster and digital terrestrial multiplex operator-funded body charged with coordinating the Government’s 2008-2012 switchover timetable, said its tracking survey showed in the three months to June that 66% of the population had heard about the switchover process.

Awareness was highest in the Border TV region. Switchover begins there in Whitehaven in the autumn of 2007, with most of the region following in 2008. The survey showed 82% of people were aware of the change. Across the UK awareness is highest among those aged 65-74, at 78%, and lowest among the 16-24 age group, at 47%.

Digital UK said the national survey of more than 2,500 adults showed a "marked increase" in public awareness following its first information campaign. The campaign, featuring friendly robot Digit Al and comedian Matt Lucas, ran in May on BBC and commercial channels. Following the campaign, awareness increased by 13% nationally and by 11 points in the Border region.

West Country and Wales, the TV regions that will follow Border in the switchover sequence, also have above-average awareness of switchover. In West Country, 77% of people are aware, and in Wales 71%, said Digital UK.

Digital UK CEO Ford Ennals said: "These results are encouraging and demonstrate that the message about switchover is getting through, particularly to older viewers.

"We still have a lot of work to do in order to ensure everyone knows about switchover and understands what they need to do to prepare. This includes knowing that all televisions need to be able to receive a digital signal. Nevertheless, this is a good start to our programme of communication and support, one we will continue to build on in the coming months and years."

Ofcom strategy director Jim Egan said: "The switchover tracker research will provide valuable intelligence on consumer attitudes and expectations in the run up to full digital switchover. It will also be an important means of monitoring progress in the critical years ahead."


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