The start of the UK's journey to a complete digital signal switchover in 2012 has been marked by a major marketing push.

The multi-media campaign begins today in the Border region, covering Cumbria and southern Scotland. This will be the first area of the country to lose its analogue signal in 2008. The ads will urge consumers to buy digital TV sets and set-top converter boxes in the run-up to the holiday period.

Says Digital UK ceo Ford Ennals: "This is the first phase of a seven-year campaign to inform and educate people about the digital television switchover . . . we plan to roll out a similar campaign in each area in the run-up to the relevant switchover date."

Digital UK is the not-for-profit organisation overseeing the switchover. Ennals continues: "I'm pleased we are starting with high levels of awareness, some two-thirds of people according to our research have already heard of switchover, but would emphasise this is the beginning of a long and gradual process."

The UK's media regulator Ofcom has also announced its plans to auction off the analogue spectrum after the terrestrial channels switch to dTV.

In a bid to maximise the "digital dividend", the watchdog says there will be no prescriptions for the use of the spectrum. This will allow the possibility of bids from cellphone operators, internet broadband providers and local TV services.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff