Research conducted for Ofcom's Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People and Digital UK, the industry-funded body coordinating digital switchover, has highlighted the need for a communications campaign targeting voluntary agencies and social service providers.
According to the research, older, disabled, isolated and low income consumers rely heavily on television, and will need support in preparing for switchover. While those aged over 75 and with significant disabilities will qualify for assistance under the digital switchover help scheme, many consumers not eligible will need support.
The research suggested that many likely to need help are generally unconcerned by switchover, "but this may reflect low understanding about the implications of converting or upgrading all television sets within the home".
Digital UK is using the research to help shape its community outreach programme, including a partnership with charities and other support groups, to provide practical assistance directly to local communities.
Mike Whitlam, chairman of the Ofcom Advisory Committee on Older and Disabled People said: "This research provides a great insight into how digital switchover can be successfully achieved with this important group of people.
"The Committee calls upon relevant charities, social services, and others to work with Digital UK to ensure that the right advice and support is available for a straight forward switch to digital television."
Digital UK CEO Ford Ennals said: "We are already working with a range of charities to ensure help is available to support older and disabled people through switchover. This research provides valuable insights into the particular needs of these groups and confirms the importance of that work."
Lovelace Consulting | 14.06.2007