Television

Channel 4 welcomes mandatory switch to digital TV; Murdoch opposes

MUMBAI: The UK government has said that by 2012 owners of analogue television sets won’t be able to get a signal to watch television since it was planning to switchover to digital television. The government was also planning to hive off part of the BBC's licence fee income to help the independent broadcasters shift to digital television.

While UK's Channel 4 welcomed the suggestion by the government; BSkyB CEO James Murdoch hit out at the government, the European Commission, the BBC and ITV or the same.

 

 

According to media reports, Murdoch accused the government of issuing an "ultimatum" to viewers by compelling them to convert to digital.

 

 

Channel 4 CEO Andy Duncan, on the other hand said that the government had indicated that it was considering ways to provide direct help, sooner rather than later. This came across in UK's culture secretary Tessa Jowell's speech.

Jowell said that she was contemplating giving Channel 4 some of the BBC's licence fee income as a one-off payment. Also, another option would be to offer Channel 4 extra capacity to launch more channels.

According to media reports, Murdoch feared that the forced switch to digital television could favour Freeview, the free-to-air digital service.

Channel 4, on the other hand felt that the shift to digital will see its advertising revenue dwindle in the face of multi-channel competition and personal video recording technology that lets viewers skip ads.

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