Digital Brits Mark Time

20 August 2002

Britain's flourishing digital television market is marking time, according to DART (Digital Audience Research Tracker), the latest quarterly report on dTV from Ipsos-RSL.

Currently 35% of UK homes are able to access dTV broadcasts – exactly the same percentage as last October. The stagnation reflects the demise earlier this summer of ITV Digital and the negative publicity surrounding this, as well as ill-will arising from its dumping of the Football League soccer broadcast deal.

On the plus side, the advent of lower cost digital adaptor boxes in UK high streets almost certainly stemmed a decline in dTV homes. Furthermore, 5% of those interviewed said they planned to invest in dTV in the next twelve months.

However, the equivalent of sixteen million adults are adamant that that nothing will persuade them to switch to digital; while 17 million profess disinterest in extra channels for no extra cost.

But a smidgen of good news for the digital lobby: forty per cent of dTV subscribers claim to have interacted with TV programmes, notably Big Brother (18% of all digital subscribers), followed by World Cup programming (11%).

But although the survey’s commentary speculates over the rate of future digital take-up by consumers, DART makes no reference to the boost expected this autumn with the launch of the BBC/BSkyB/Crown Castle digital joint venture. This will offer viewers twenty-four free-to-air TV channels plus interactive services and digital radio.

DART is conducted by Ipsos-RSL on Capibus, the omnibus survey which interviews a nationally representative sample of 2000 people in their homes across the UK every week.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff