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Digital UK faced a mammoth task when it had to educate the entire nation about TV aerial switchover from analogue to digital. The campaign needed to communicate with everyone and leave no one behind as this would have resulted in a loss of all TV channels. 


Of the UK’s 26 million households’ 80% had to do something to their TV equipment as a result of switchover; although many were unaware of this. Digital UK was responsible for making sure switchover happened as simply and smoothly as possible and ensuring people knew what to do, and by when.

The switchover was rolled out TV region by TV region. Prior to communications, 93% of the Central population were unaware of when the digital switchover was happening.  This equates to 600,000 households.  Forecasts suggested that 125,000 households could have been unaware of when their TV signal was going to switch and end up left behind. Central provided a particular challenge concerning date communication. The Central TV region is made up of a number of transmitters switching on different dates and surrounded by overlapping TV signals.  


Throughout the switchover programme, we performed continual econometric measurement within each of the regions. This provided us with a wealth of benchmarks to aid planning and buying decisions.  Historically the strongest growth in awareness has been seen in regions where we are able to advertise the date of switchover on TV, however in Central, this was not possible as consumers in the region could be receiving their TV signal from a number of transmitters which switch on different dates.  Furthermore, the individual transmitters’ footprints did not match any media footprints, making date communication through other media more difficult.  New outdoor creative had to be developed for Central to communicate multiple dates in areas affected by more than one transmitter.  It was decided to direct mail a post card with the exact date each area would switch on.  By incorporating data from previous regions, with the new timings for Central, the model told us the approach was likely to work, even though we hadn’t done it before.  Detailed post code mapping from our engineering transmitter database allowed us to send the right card to the right area.


As a result, by -1 week, 98% of viewers had converted their main TV set in advance of the switchover.  The close integration of the communications activity and the econometric modelling, backed up by detailed mapping enabled us to identify a problem early and correct it with just the right level of investment.

“The econometric modelling has become an integral part of our communications strategy, providing a constant outlook on how regions have and are expected to perform up to the date of switchover. Without the monthly insight, it is highly likely we would have missed the later date awareness targets in Central A”
— Beth Thoren, Director of Communications at Digital UK