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