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02/01/2002

JOWELL WELCOMES NEW VIEWERS’ PANEL REPORT

Greater channel choice, Internet access, e-mail and home shopping will attract people to switch to digital television, according to a new Viewers’ Panel report.
But people will only switch to digital television if they are offered programmes, equipment and services that they want and for which they are prepared to pay.
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell welcomed the report, Digital Decisions: Viewer Choice and Digital Television, part of the Government's first ever two-yearly review into the progress made towards digital switch over.
The report highlights the future benefits of digital TV but, more importantly, gives the Government an insight into viewers' and consumer attitudes towards digital television, barriers to consumers' take-up of digital television and how best the transition from analogue to digital television could be managed.
Commenting on the report, Jowell said: "Take-up of digital television over the past three years has been tremendous, faster that in any other European country. Already one in five homes have access to the new digital services. But ultimately digital will only succeed if broadcasters, manufacturers and service providers, can convince viewers' that switching to digital television is a benefit to their daily lives. Viewers are the driving force behind the move towards digital switch over. We want to see switch over to digital between 2006 – 2010 - this will happen if the programmes and facilities offered to viewers are tempting enough for them to make the switch."
The public will have a chance to respond to the Viewers' Panel report as part of a wider public consultation in to the take-up of digital Television. Jowell has also asked the BBC and ITC to provide reports on progress made towards switch over to the new digital services. (CD)
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