Headlines: September 17th, 2002

Hopes of making extensive use of digital TV to deliver public services have been dealt a blow by the latest MORI survey of take-up. MORI found that although the incidence of digital television viewers, at over 19 million British adults, is more than 30% up on twelve months ago, almost all of this growth occurred up to March this year. It was then that ITV Digital collapsed and growth in digital television viewing appeared to come to a grinding halt.The UK online Interactive Digital Television (iDTV) service on Sky was launched in April and the service has generated around 20,000 visitors a month. The Office of the e-Envoy is working to enhance the scope of the service and to develop strategic partnerships at the central, regional and local level. Suffolk County Council will use the platform to launch its own interactive digital television service. Somerset plans to launch a similar service, also via UK online interactive, later this year. It is planned to provide every part of Government with a presence on the service over a short period of time at a low entry cost. Discussions with central departments are well advanced and local authorities will be contacted shortly.

The MORI poll found that an optimistic projection is that is that by 2007 only some two thirds of British adults are likely to have access to digital TV. Reasons for resisting a move to digital are cost, poor quality of programmes and poor picture/sound quality.