Headlines: December 20th, 2010

Looking Local is to partner with the Community Channel and bring viewers on Sky direct access to information and services from over 125 public sector organisations simply by pressing the red button. The new service, which is aimed at people without internet access, is launched as Directgov withdraws its service from SKY later this month.

Over 125 local authorities, housing associations, health organisations as well as Jobcentre Plus, Transport Direct and NHS work with Looking Local to widen access to their services, delivering them straight to homes that often need them most. Over nine million people do not have Internet access in the UK and Looking Local makes significant inroads in terms of providing electronic access services to these people, as well as bringing efficiency savings to partners in terms of improving their self service records.

A recent Looking Local questionnaire revealed that their users across the UK regularly use DiTV and are happy to contact public service providers this way; 59 per cent of respondents used interactive TV very regularly and 50 per cent of Looking Local users are repeat customers. 30 per cent of respondents said government services on TV were very important to them, 45 per cent had no internet access and over 55 per cent said they traditionally would call their council to undertake their business, 16 per cent in person and still 6 per cent communicate with their council by letter. Looking Local is proven to be a cheaper channel than all of these methods.

Mark Dodd from Media Trust, said: “This 24-hour presence on a national TV channel will increase the service’s use and offer viewers increased interaction with Community Channel, giving them a wide range of local information. Community Channel is leading the way in delivering local information and services and extending its value for viewers. We’re delighted to be able to widen access to public services across the country, particularly for those who are not online. The red button will allow better communication, empowering communities and providing local advice for citizens in one place.”