Agencies attack Govt over analogue TV plan

Agencies have hit out at Government plans to set a deadline for switching off analogue TV services, saying the issue should not even be debated until half of homes can receive digital TV.

Agencies have hit out at Government plans to set a deadline for

switching off analogue TV services, saying the issue should not even be

debated until half of homes can receive digital TV.



The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising made the call in its

response to the Commons select committee on culture’s recommendation

that an analogue switch-off date should be announced this year. The IPA

labelled the move ’premature’.



A spokesman pointed out that digital TV has still to launch, programme

plans are unclear and it’s impossible to gauge in advance consumer

reaction to the channels.



Agencies believe it is not in their clients’ interests to decide now on

the future of analogue and so want to ensure that advertisers’ ability

to reach a mass audience is not adversely affected.



For this reason, the Government should wait until 50 per cent of homes

have digital TV before making a decision and the switch-off should not

occur until 90 per cent of homes receive it, the IPA added.



A spokesman for British Digital Broadcasting, the digital terrestrial

consortium, responded: ’No-one wants to force consumers into making a

move to digital. We’re concentrating on ensuring they’re fully aware of

the benefits of digital television.’



At the same time, the IPA welcomed the committee’s recommendation of a

single regulatory authority with an overview of all TV broadcasters’

commercial activities, including the BBC.



Jim Marshall, the chairman of the IPA’s Future of Television working

party, said a single regulator would facilitate a thorough review of the

TV medium. ’Appropriate policies can then be put in place to ensure

public and commercial channels are working to complementary programme

remits,’ he added.



But the IPA is concerned that combining this authority with an

all-encompassing Communications Regulation Commission could mean that

’broadcast issues will be subsumed within telecommunications,’ a

spokesman said.



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