Annual report 2010

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Overview

Headlines from the year to 31 March 2010

Interviews

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Essentially itís going very well. As I say, over 90 per cent of people have got equipment already, whether itís Sky or Cable or Freeview and awareness is at a very high level. Both of those are very good factors in our favour and itís quite easy to be a bit complacent and assume ďoh well thatís digital switchover doneĒ and weíre only half way through in terms of time and well less than that in terms of the people that need to convert, so thereís still a long way to go.

This has been a triumph of partnership. Admittedly between people who have had a very common interest and are going in the same direction - very important. But nonetheless, a partnership between rival broadcasters, the Government and Ofcom and the retailers and the manufacturers and even in some of the things that have been created, the BBCís obligation to run the Help Scheme. That too has worked despite the fact that we overlap a great deal. We do co-operate well and the BBC Help Scheme has got to the people it needs to get to, which is good news.

The big success of last year was the fact that we got through switchover in one of the biggest regions of Britain, thatís the North West Granada region, with scarcely a falter, which is a great testimony to the skills of the organisation and to David Scott for the way he runs it.

Barry Cox, Chairman, Digital UK

This year saw the switchover programme gather pace across the UK. Analogue television signals were switched off at 14 transmitter groups, creating the first all-digital TV regions and providing hundreds of thousands of homes with access to free, multi-channel television for the first time.

Thanks to David Scott and his team at Digital UK, people have been well prepared for the change. Around five million homes across four TV regions have successfully switched to digital-only television. Itís clear that most viewers have taken switchover in their stride and thereís generally been plenty of help available for those who needed it.

Thanks must also go to our partners in Government, at Arqiva, Ofcom and the Switchover Help Scheme. Each has helped ensure we remain on track and lessons are fed into the plans for the remainder of the programme. As switchover continues, I am confident that we will build on a positive year, enabling more people to enjoy the benefits of free-to-air digital television.

'...most viewers have taken switchover in their stride and there's generally been plenty of help available for those who needed it.'Barry Cox, Chairman, Digital UK

David Scott, Chief Executive, Digital UK

The biggest challenge of the year was preparing the Granada TV region for the end of the analogue era. We knew from the switchovers in the West Country and Wales that our campaign model was effective but scaling up to serve three million households was an important test.

Iím pleased to say that, as with switchovers to date elsewhere, the two-stage transition across the north west of England in November and December went smoothly. Detailed planning and programme management, the hard work of our dedicated regional team and our partnership with third sector organisation across the region were crucial in achieving this result.

Where viewers encountered problems, we were generally able to help. Calls to our advice line show some people still have difficulties with retuning Freeview equipment and choosing their preferred regional services where TV signals overlap. We are increasing the prominence of guidance on these issues in our future campaigns.

Looking ahead, we can be confident not only that switchover remains on track but also that we can deliver significant efficiencies. On current projections, we expect to deliver savings of £55 million by the end of the programme in 2012.

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