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BBC: DTT HD loss could cost £15.6 billion

pinkhelmets

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Report:
The loss to the UK in private and social value if HD services are not allowed to develop on DTT spectrum could be as much as £15.6 billion. The figure was revealed as part of the BBC’s response to the Ofcom consultation on the Digital Dividend Review, which closed today (Tuesday). The figure, that has a range between £4.1 and £15.6 billion was calculated by Independant Consulting, and is based on the loss from reduced audiences to public service broadcasting, the reduction is value caused by people migrating from the platform, and the social value from the loss of universal provision, should HD become the standard format.

“High Definition is already a consumer reality, and it’s one that really adds value for audiences,” said BBC director-general Mark Thompson. “It’s a technological advance that we think can and should be available as far as possible to all viewers of digital television – whether they watch through cable, satellite or an aerial, and whether they choose pay or free-to-air services.”

The BBC says that the Freeview DTT platform must be able to compete with the other platforms by offering a critical mass of HD channels.

Ofcom is proposing a technology neutral auction of the radio spectrum released as a result of analogue switch off. Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have argued that they should be gifted at least one third of the released spectrum, fearing that an auction would not only price them out of the market, but also create a two tier public broadcasting service with consumers forced to take out subscription services to enjoy HD.
 

pinkhelmets

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There is another side to the coin.
The "15.6 million" loss isnt actually a 'loss' its more of a 'shift' of social value so not actually accurate in some consulting views, whatever the exact figure is. For the public service broadcasters it means they have to perhaps fight harder to continue being the best choice.... competition has never done any of them harm and only improved the publically owned corporation (BBC) and ensured that ITV and Ch4 have continued to seek audiences and stop them choosing to 'go out & do something less boring instead'. Uk television competes at a top elite level in the world, would this be so if they did not have the 'healthy competition' with viewers having choice to go elsewhere?
Another view is that a fight for space will ensure that the 'junk' channels will never form part of the DTT platform and that only the very best will be offered on the platform, is that so bad?
The BBC requested a higher licence fee charge to cover costs of expanding DTT, which would include providing HD services. This was rightly refused as one of the questions.... is it really in the nations interest to have HD services via DTT and would we all be prepared to pay for it even if we used cable or satellite or any other alternative?

In my view the report is purely the BBC throwing the dummy out of the pram as they have not had their way, which would certainly have been the 'easy way'. I am known here as a supporter of 'free-to-all' public service telly and more against pay-tv, but that doesnt mean I always think bbc, itv & ch4 are right, and if it results in a 2-tier DTT system then at least the public get choice and revenues/values will NOT be affected they will simply shift to where the public demand. :)