Annual report 2010

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Switchover progress

Update on switchover during the last year and programme management

Regions switchedRegions to switch Figures from the Switchover Tracker survey to February 2010

Interviews

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Well, the UK’s TV switchover programme is a really significant undertaking because it combines a large scale engineering programme, where just about every one of a thousand transmitters across the country has to be re-engineered, with both a consumer communications programme, that has to touch every TV viewer in the country and a stakeholder communications programme where we have to work with a whole variety of stakeholders from electrical retailers, charities and consumer groups, equipment manufacturers and the digital TV platforms, to get them to help us help the viewers through the switchover process.

Progress is monitored by our programme management office, our PMO as we call it and the PMO team sits right at the heart of the organisation. Quite often you’ll see project management teams sitting somewhere on the outside and they’re seen as quite bureaucratic or administrative. For us, it’s right in the middle of the organisation and manages each of our 22 switchover projects and their progress through switchover.

Well, we have two important tools to monitor our progress. One is the switchover tracker survey and the other is the programme and focus groups that we run. The switchover tracker survey is one of the country’s largest face to face surveys that’s running at the moment. We will interview 14,000 households up and down the UK this year and it’s an interview that takes place on their doorsteps, so face to face with them and we ask them a whole range of questions about whether they’re aware of switchover, what’s happening and what they’ll need to do. So from that we get a whole series of statistics about the readiness of each region. That’s complemented by the focus groups programme where we can speak to people in much more depth. We take a small group of people into a room for a couple of hours and we’ll get them to talk to us about what they feel about switchover and with those quantitative and qualitative research techniques, we can really keep a close eye on where a region is, spot any issues as they arise and address them early.

Children in Tonyrefail celebrate Wales becoming the UK’s first digital TV nation

Switchover progress

Switchover is now on course to reach more than a quarter of UK homes by the end of 2010 and to complete across the UK by the end of 2012. During the period covered by this review, around a quarter of households successfully went through the process.

A project with the complexity and scale of switchover requires a solid framework and detailed planning. Digital UK’s Programme Management Office oversees the switchover process, co-ordinating all activities which support the terrestrial TV upgrade.

'The programme benefits from a clear five-year timetable, while detailed planning allows for flexibility within this to ensure key dates and milestones are met.'

The programme is divided into 23 regional sub-projects, spanning 67 transmitter groups across 15 TV regions. These are monitored through a wide range of research, including regional focus groups and the ‘Switchover Tracker’, which provides monthly reports on viewers' readiness throughout each region. Along with input from Digital UK’s other workstreams and regional teams, this helps to shape our campaign model, allowing trends to be identified and issues resolved.

For example, following switchovers in the West Country and Granada, it became clear that viewers required additional advice on overlapping TV signals between regions and nations. Information on this, and how to do a ‘manual retune’ to resolve it, is now included across our campaign materials.

The programme benefits from a clear five-year timetable, while detailed planning allows for flexibility within this to ensure key dates and milestones are met. Regular reviews with our partners in government, the broadcasters, industry and Ofcom also ensure critical information is shared and that the programme remains on track, able to adapt to new developments such as the future clearance of the 800MHz band. The success of this approach may offer valuable lessons for other large scale projects in the future.

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