- Analogue television will continue to thrive well into the digital TV age, according to some of the UK's leading broadcasters at the TV '98 conference in Barcelona last week.
Karen Brown, the deputy director of programmes for Channel 4, also played down the impact of much of the new digital era. Brown told delegates that, because digital TV will be driven by broadcasters' desire to maximise audiences and revenues, it will fail to deliver the very thing that it is supposed to: more real choice.
"Don't believe for a second that digital TV will mean that every feasible public interest can be met by a commercial service," Brown said. "Digital TV will offer more choice, but it will tend to be within television's middle ground."
Channel 4's digital services, Brown added, will focus on its relationship with its audience and will offer services that its analogue capacity currently restricts. "Every channel will need its own unique recipe for success. Ours is our remit, which gives the channel its unique advantage, and it is what we believe will guarantee an exciting future in a digital world."
According to David Elstein, the chief executive of Channel 5, digital television will deliver very little new material for viewers and will mostly be a simple repackaging of existing analogue services.
Elstein told delegates that much of the digital TV capacity will comprise near-video-on-demand, the extension of mini channels which are already available into full channels and no explosion in the number of films made, just different availability windows for movie screenings.