Magazine article Marketing

The Yes Minister Decline to Give a Date for Digital

Magazine article Marketing

The Yes Minister Decline to Give a Date for Digital

Article excerpt

Douglas Hurd, when he was in charge of broadcasting at the Home Office, had a way of dealing with some of the wilder ideas that came down the track from either the more extreme free marketers or those who thought the future was a little more imminent than it actually was.

The idea, Lord Hurd suggested, should be "kicked in the long grass". Of course the trick was to ensure that nobody really knew that was the destination in case its supporters caused a fuss. Somehow it just ended up there and that was the end of the matter. It looks like Chris Smith, apart from a few excitable moments over the National Lottery, which were probably the result of excessive Blair popularism anyway, is starting to get the hang of the concept.

Of course the secretary of state for culture, media and sport is in favour of doing everything he can to speed up the transition to digital television so that analogue broadcasts can be switched off and the frequencies auctioned for lots of wonga. It's digital after all. All part of the future, the information society we are due to be living in any day now. Not to mention all those billions of pounds in the creative economy.

The secretary of state could not be more firmly behind the idea of switching off analogue transmissions; actually quite a long way behind.

He is prepared to do everything to promote the move toward digital in the UK except perhaps the one thing that would encourage it to happen: set a switch-off date. That would galvanise broadcasters and manufacturers, and the minds of consumers could be concentrated on the issue in ten years' time when Michael Portillo is just beginning the first Conservative administration for years. …

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