Digital Switchover is here. Don’t panic! DON’T PANIC!

Digital UK, as you probably know, is responsible for managing the smooth transition from analogue to digital TV in the UK. With the help of their robot mascot, DigitAl, they run communications campaigns helping to build public awareness and understanding of digital switchover (DSO). This activity gets ramped up in the regions that are about to have their old analogue transmissions switched off. Like here in London.

There are only 5% of homes that don’t yet have digital TV, and nearly half of these viewers are aged over 65. (According to Ofcom) The vast majority are not particularly tech-savvy. It’s a particular concern of Digital UK’s that these viewers are not confused or alarmed by DSO. So if you’re talking to an elderly, potentially confused audience about the impending switchover, you probably wouldn’t want to put up posters like this across London:

Switchover Apocalypse

And yet this is exactly what Digital Uk has done. You’ll note DigitAl, grinning robotically at the fuzzy blank TV screen.

Now, in the pantheon of fear-inducing public service announcements, I reckon this is pretty much unparalleled. With the possible exception of this one:

Certainly in peacetime Britain, it’s hard to imagine anything more alarmist. Even the Daily Mail would struggle to inspire quite this degree of angst and rabid self-doubt.

My TV channels are going to DISAPPEAR?! In APRIL?! Even ITV?! Even the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW?! These spending cuts are out of control!! They can close the swimming pools and the public loos but we won’t let them take Fiona Bruce off our screens. We’ll march on Downing Street! We’ll have a bloody riot!

I think I’d better ring my gran.


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