Why digital TV will spark a revolution

The self-confessed lack of understanding of digital TV has let down Bob Hand in his assessment of its impact (Letters, MW August 20). What he doesn’t appreciate are the wider applications of digital TV for both marketer and viewer.

Consumers will become “choosers” and claim ownership of the media. They will have a huge range of programming, computer games and sites, advertising, archive and audio material from which to choose.

More important, they will be able to opt in or out of advertising as hardware development enables them to select only the ads and programming they wish to receive. This will happen as set-top boxes become a hybrid of PC and receiver, allowing enormous control by the user to pre-programme, download, store and edit programming and computer-generated entertainment.

However, it will be possible to monitor viewing habits of individuals and households and match this against conventional lifestyle data to tailor specific messages to consumers. Whether they want to receive them will be another matter. The conventional mass-market approach will be superseded by targeted, interactive promotions.

The costs involved in the entry into digital TV for the consumer will not present the barrier that Hand claims. Set-top boxes currently retail at 130 and are becoming cheaper all the time. Subscriptions will be considerably lower.

The cost of creating interactive messages is affordable with existing technology. Likewise the broadcast systems. The only thing currently lacking is the absence of a response system to accompany set-top boxes.

The key point that marketers will have come to terms with is that consumers will not only have increasing influence on product and service development, but they will take command of the media.

Conventional advertising techniques will become a thing of the past as targeted advertising becomes the norm.

Andrew Hillary

Managing director

Michael Rines Communications

Alderton

Northants

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