The loss to the UK in private and social value if HD services are not allowed to develop on DTT spectrum could be as much as £15.6 billion. The figure was revealed as part of the BBC’s response to the Ofcom consultation on the Digital Dividend Review, which closed today (Tuesday). The figure, that has a range between £4.1 and £15.6 billion was calculated by Indepen Consulting, and is based on the loss from reduced audiences to public service broadcasting, the reduction is value caused by people migrating from the platform, and the social value from the loss of universal provision, should HD become the standard format.
“High Definition is already a consumer reality, and it’s one that really adds value for audiences,” said BBC director-general Mark Thompson. “It’s a technological advance that we think can and should be available as far as possible to all viewers of digital television – whether they watch through cable, satellite or an aerial, and whether they choose pay or free-to-air services.”
The BBC says that the Freeview DTT platform must be able to compete with the other platforms by offering a critical mass of HD channels.
Ofcom is proposing a technology neutral auction of the radio spectrum released as a result of analogue switch off. Broadcasters including the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 have argued that they should be gifted at least one third of the released spectrum, fearing that an auction would not only price them out of the market, but also create a two tier public broadcasting service with consumers forced to take out subscription services to enjoy HD. (JC)