Analogue switch-off: Multi-channel viewing by 'the reluctant 50%'

Mackay, Hugh (2007). Analogue switch-off: Multi-channel viewing by 'the reluctant 50%'. International Journal of Cultural Policy, 13(1) pp. 33–48.




The paper is concerned with the switch-off of analogue television and explores key issues about technology, audiences and communications policy. The main argument is that the characteristics of the 'second 50%' are very different from the first half of households that have chosen to adopt digital, and that concerns are as much about content as cost. The paper reports a small, largely qualitative, study of households where analogue television has been switched off – the only place in the UK where this has happened, as a Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) trial. Qualitative data on the transformation of audience behaviour with the arrival of digital is contextualised by an analysis of British government policy on analogue switch-off. The paper compares and contrasts the discourse of digital TV with viewing expectations and experiences. It reflects on choice, viewing behaviour and the shaping of technology and raises critical questions about government policies on analogue switch-off.

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