Digital TV takes on the Internet

I was interested to read Roger Randall’s piece on digital TV in Marketing Week July 9.

I agree with him that there is every reason to believe that digital TV will have a significant impact on marketing strategy activity in the UK, but I am concerned that many blue chip organisations are still ignorant of the likely impact.

I know that organisations like BIB and BDB are promoting the huge range of opportunities which accompany the digital revolution. However, even among the organisations already approached, there is a reluctance to devote internal resources to investigate those opportunities in more detail. It is even more surprising now that the importance of the Internet has been recognised, with dedicated project teams developing Internet strategies, that digital TV, with its much wider applications, is still very much the poor relation.

As a “non-techie” I still find it difficult to accept the Internet will reach a mass audience until its services become available, as a matter of course, on a conventional television receiver. Digital TV offers this facility and much more.

Randall uses the example of financial services, with viewers entering their requirements into an intelligent selector programme, which then chooses a suitable product from a portfolio of investments.

On an even more basic level, let’s say, for choosing a motor insurance quote, this requires little in the way of new technology and has the facility to reach a mass audience already conditioned to shopping around and, I am sure, very happy to conduct their business through TV. The same applies to interactive banking, bill payment and simple account management.

What’s more, for organisations keen to access specific markets, digital TV has the capacity to reach these people in a way which the Internet can never achieve. Older people, for example, watch a lot of television, but have a very poor record of Web- site “hits”. Organisations keen to access the grey market should be alive to the possibilities, even to the extent of looking at their own dedicated digital channel.

While initial entry costs will always prove something of a barrier to rapid digital take-up, experience tells us that subsidies will soon be followed by rapid further cost reduction and payment plans and tariffs to facilitate easy access to the services.

Perhaps the greatest opportunity lies with those who control the gateway to these services and there will be some very interesting opportunities for Sky, BDB and others to forge major new strategic alliances with organisations which are prepared to take these opportunities seriously. What price Sky Bank, as the next major new entrant into the financial services market?

Bob Hand

Managing director

Affinity Solutions

Haywards Heath

West Sussex

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