Annual report 2010

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Information campaign

Details of how the switchover information campaign was developed and how it works


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We need to provide real help to people and that’s about making the complicated simple and being completely independent and truthful in the information that we give; we’re not trying to sell anybody anything.

The benefits of local communication is that it’s much more effective and much more concentrated than a national campaign and it has allowed us to save substantial amounts of money. And the reason for this is because every bit of communication that we deliver is highly relevant, it’s not something that’s meant for the whole country, it’s meant for you.

I think in 2009 our communications have been very different because we’ve worked with rural areas, where we’ve had to use types of communications that normally, most marketers don’t use. For instance, lampposts, we’re using telephone boxes because there’s nothing else there, a lot of direct, town hall events. So the communications that we do in rural Wales for instance would be very different from that which we’d do in an area like Granada, where everything in Granada is about getting cut through. There’s so much media out there that you actually need to be bold and brave and wrap busses and have big electronic screens; anything to cut through the noise that’s out there. So the approaches that we have are very different.

We succeeded in driving awareness to virtually 100 per cent; conversion reached 98-99 per cent on the eve before switchover and people were comfortable with the process and comfortable with our communications.

We’ve made a number of key changes in 2009. I think one of the key ones has been around timing. It’s always been really important to tell people that a change is coming and create a sense of inevitability so we started our communications quite far in advance of switchover and that’s been important. But as we move on, there’s a real need to focus all our effort, our money and our time, in the last few months before switchover, because that’s when people act and that’s been probably the biggest change in our communications.

And I think the last thing is about when you’re reaching out to more vulnerable people, there’s a limit to what communications can do and you actually need to be working in partnerships with other people. So for instance we found that our road shows where we’ve provided face to face help on the ground, has been really important. But we’ve also needed to work alongside local charities and with our retail partners because they’re the people that often, somebody who has got questions, will turn to because they’re the people that they know. And so we found it so important to make sure that those people are properly trained and properly informed and working alongside us.

STV Norse: Digit Al heralds the switch to digital television in the Shetland Islands with local Vikings at the Up Helly Aa! fire festival. STV Norse: Digit Al heralds the switch to digital television in the Shetland Islands with local Vikings at the Up Helly Aa! fire festival.

Information campaign

The past year saw switchovers take place in many different parts of the UK, from rural Cornwall to the towns and cities of the North West. In each case, we were able to adapt our information campaign to meet the needs of viewers and local organisations.

During 2009, more than 1.5 million people visited the Digital UK website, nearly half a million callers used the Digital UK advice line and information leaflets were sent to approximately seven million homes across five TV regions. Hundreds of roadshows and community events offered viewers the opportunity to get face-to-face advice from trained advisers and volunteers.

We also made specialist advice available to property managers and retailers in the run up to each switchover. Our retail support team provided more than 6,400 training sessions for electrical retailers, earning a ‘Best retail training’ award from Field Marketing and Brand Experience magazines.

'Nine-out-of-ten households are now aware of switchover and have already converted their main TV to digital.'

Our intensive local information campaigns deliver messages about switchover through a variety of channels and have proved effective in boosting viewer awareness and understanding. In the Granada region, 98 per cent of viewers were already watching digital TV by the first stage of switchover and nine-out-of-ten said they felt comfortable with the process. Nationally, nine-out-of ten households are now aware of switchover and have already converted their main TV to digital.

At switchover, the most frequently asked questions concern retuning Freeview TVs and set top boxes. This was particularly true in the North West, where overlapping TV signals meant some viewers received additional services from Wales. We have increased the prominence of advice on retuning and developed an online tool which provides viewers with a personalised step-by-step guide to choosing their preferred regional TV service. The coming year will see a move to shorter, more focused advertising and roadshow campaigns, run jointly with the Switchover Help Scheme. We will continue to make efficiencies across all communications, which have already resulted in substantial savings.

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