Govt to promote digital TV in wake of ITV debacle

The Government is considering running an advertising campaign to promote digital television to consumers following the dramatic collapse of ITV Digital.

Sources suggest that the Government wants to convince an increasingly sceptical public of the advantages of digital television and assuage public fears following the demise of the digital terrestrial platform.

This would lead on to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport asking COI Communications to oversee an agency appointment.

The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, has repeatedly stated that despite the setback presented by the collapse of ITV Digital, the planned deadline of 2010 for analogue switch-off stands.

But research shows that the public remains unconvinced of the advantages of having access to digital television. The Government may attempt to accelerate the rate of take-up with free set-top boxes, an issue the media select committee recommends.

Agencies are among the casualties following the demise of ITV Digital.

Mother, Naked and PHD have joined the list of suppliers awaiting payment, although no-one at the agencies would comment.

One source said he expected the bills would be paid eventually because ITV Digital's owners, Granada and Carlton, wouldn't want to alienate the ad industry, effectively its source of income.

Mother is also preparing to take ITV Digital to court over the future of the ITV Digital knitted monkey it created.

The administrators Deloitte & Touche are said to be treating the monkey as an ITV Digital asset. There has been interest from other advertisers wishing to buy its copyright. Mother disputes this, claiming ownership was never transferred to ITV Digital.

Deloitte & Touche refused to comment.