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Tuesday 13 March 2007

Council DigiTV: end is nigh?

THE plug is to be pulled on Bolton Council's digital TV site with viewing figures falling as more people access the authority's services on the internet.


In its first month of operation the DiGI TV site received more than 4,000 hits and later peaked at more than 7,000.

But fewer than 1,000 people a month are now viewing the site, compared to the 200,000 hits recorded at A council spokesman said: "DiGI TV did prove valuable in improving the electronic system and the feedback from people about the kind of information they expected to find on a site such as this was also very useful.

"The council plans to monitor and review the situation in the future as the switchover to digital TV continues."

If you look through the interactive options on Freeview, this stuff isn't there anyway (it's there but isn't working on my Virgin). But what actually gets looked at? I'd be interested in the stats, but I don't noticed a huge rush by the likes of Tesco into this space and there is zero buzz elsewhere (e.g. USA) about this 'channel'. ZIP INTEREST. I'd bet it's just the weather and news which draws what eyes there are.

Much like with mobile content, this was predicted to work, but isn't and doesn't look likely to. Not with the set-up as it is. Although it's always struck me that some bureaucrat might assume this is a quick way to fag-smoking, sky-watching, sun-reading lairy 'digitally divided' types (aka chavs).

I can't see how you can get around the fundamental sit-back / lean-forward issue of TV vs Web? Which is well-documented. The roles are different (in our culture anyway).

Plus it's competing against the very loud marketing of getting online and doing your business there.

This is not just us (!), this is all the other benefits (such as cheaper car insurance!) getting 24-hr promo. Right now Which! is running a huge campaign for it's very good leaflets introducing people to using computers.

It is because of this + online banking that my mum has come 360ยบ on computers, a situation I can imagine is replicated everywhere. However my mum is also facing no more computer lessons after her one lot.

Everywhere else appears to be challenging the digital divide head-on by supplying actual machines or as close as damn it and often training. Again, what makes us so special? When are we going to see Gordon Brown promoting UK Online?

The one benefit I can see out of DigiTV (for Bolton or others, otherwise wasting their time/money although they'd be valuable experience there) is that this route to customers absolutely forces you into improving communications. You have to offer simple menus, straightforward functionality, with very self-explanatory headlining and you have very little text available.

This is good practice for when portable devices do become more doable for transactions and is actually good practice for websites too.

DigiTV is a classic example of where government strategy goes big with something (the latest one of which does indeed continue to big this up), which turns out to be the wrong road but can't stop/turn around/ redirect resources quickly enough or to make the most of what's left.

My criticism's more about that than wasted money because at least someone's innovating.

I notice that DigiTV is now promoting it's viewability online — maybe there's a tie-up there? they could fill a few of Al Gore's TV station's 'pods'.

p.s. went looking for their logo. could I find it easily on their site? could I 'eck.

They have a marketing section but it's all offline marketing. You can read about web banners but find them? Guys, I'm linking to you here! (No usage stats either).

p.p.s. Bolton have a fabulous homepage. I love the logo, love the images of locals, love the slogan ('welcome to the family home'). It's actually quite distinctive and subtly innovative. At a quick scan, it's w-working (click fingers).

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