LONDON: Echoing Mark Twain's quip that press reports of his death had been "greatly exaggerated", the executive charged with spearheading Britain's switchover from analogue to digital TV derided the current panic that digital video recorders are poised to read the last rites over TV advertising.

Addressing the MediaTel Future of TV seminar in London Wednesday, Ford Ennals, ceo of Digital UK told delegates: "To say ad-skipping is the end of advertising is nonsense. We have always had ad skipping - it was called switching the channel."

He predicted, however, that clients and broadcasters would have to seek more TV sponsorship opportunities. "I think we are scaring clients off and forcing them to look for a new sexy media because they want to be seen by their board as being pro-future technology and pro-any medium which can be measured."

Ennals, the ceo of the joint-industry body overseeing the transition of UK television into the digital age, is himself a hands-on marketer, having served stints as marketing director both of British Airways and Lloyds TSB bank.

Voicing the media-buying view, Jim Marshall, chairman of Starcom UK, detected among clients a "lack of confidence" in traditional forms of advertising. It is up to the TV companies and agencies to demonstrate that the medium is still effective, he opined.

While ITV director of marketing and commercial strategy Clare Salmon underscored the escalation of the cult of ROI within the boardrooms of major UK advertisers.

"I don't think there is a marketing director left in the UK allowed to spend their money in any way without some ROI calculation," she told delegates.

But DVR ad-skipping has yet assume problem proportions in the UK given the relative paucity of hardware in the marketplace. According to Merrill Lynch data, household penetration is forecast to reach 8% by the year end and 17% in 2010.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff