Magazine article Marketing

Gap in ONdigital's Figures Prove the Need for Independent Audit

Magazine article Marketing

Gap in ONdigital's Figures Prove the Need for Independent Audit

Article excerpt

In the media business, nothing is more important than real numbers, whether it's circulation figures, cost per thousand or total subscriptions to digital television.

When ONdigital announced that it had signed up 110,000 subscribers during its first four months on air, the reaction was a little odd. A considerable number of people expressed private scepticism - some more privately than others.

Why anyone should have been at all surprised is difficult to imagine. It was inconceivable that ONdigital could have faced analysts, the press and the world with anything less than 100,000 subscribers. A total of 100,001 would have looked a tad suspicious, but around 110,000 was surely more of a cent than any horse in the Grand National.

Except that in the weeks up to March 13 the market research group GfK, which researches the consumer electronics trade, found that just over 63,000 systems had been sold and sales were running at between 3000 and 4000 a month.

The gap is wide- the sort of gap that would be immediately noticed by the Stock Exchange, given that a number of quoted companies such as Carlton and Granada, the owners of ONdigital, are involved.

It is equally inconceivable that ONdigital would have fiddled its figures. There would be too much to lose for all concerned, quite apart from the fact that the digital terrestrial company will be paying all its suppliers on the basis of its announced figures.

So what is the possible explanation? The favourite rumour is that Gerry Robinson and Charles Allen at Granada quickly bunged ONdigital into their 30,000 hotel rooms. …

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