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Digital television in Australia: 2002 Industry survey

MediaScience is the leading provider of lab-based media and advertising research, incorporating a range of neuro-measures including biometrics, facial expression analysis, eye tracking, EEG, and more. With state-of-the-art labs in New York, Chicago, and Austin, MediaScience is discovering actionable insights in advertising, technology, media, and consumer trends.

Dr. Duane Varan, the global authority of neuromarketing research, founded Audience Labs (formerly the Interactive Television Research Institute) during his tenure at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, in 2001. In 2005, he launched the Beyond : 30 Project, a consortium exploring the changing media and advertising landscape, and in 2008, he was approached by Disney Media Networks to set up a dedicated custom research lab on a broader scale – and so MediaScience was born. Though he officially left Murdoch in 2015, he continues to maintain some research links with the University of South Australia and has been widely recognised for his innovative contributions to teaching and the neuromarketing industry as evidenced by a long list of awards and over 90 published academic papers in his field.

Below is an abstract from a paper Dr. Varan oversaw about Digital television in Australia: 2002 Industry survey from Australian Broadcasting Authority.

The digitisation of both broadcast and subscription television has attracted considerable attention globally over the past few years. In a few markets, including Australia, regulators have sought to help stimulate the conversion from analogue to digital free-to-air broadcast infrastructure. While this helps address increasing pressure on regulators to manage spectrum more efficiently, as a model it has yet to be widely adopted by consumers, particularly in the horizontal environment of freeto-air broadcasting. Although targets have been identified for ‘digital migration’, the quest for effective conversion strategies for television broadcasting continues.

In contrast, in the subscription television arena, there have been significant advances — most particularly in the rapid adoption of digital services in the UK where digital penetration has now exceeded 40% of the British population making it more widely diffused than the Internet’s residential penetration there. Although this has clearly been facilitated through British Sky Broadcasting’s (BSkyB) aggressive attempts to expand into the British market, it has reached a stage where it is starting to generate more widespread consumer appeal. Whereas in the initial stages of interactive television (iTV), for example, only 50% of those households equipped with iTV systems actually accessed the interactive services, this has risen to over 76% in the past year, demonstrating rising enthusiasm for the interactive medium (BMRB Digital Viewer Wave 5 — see Curry, 2001). To a large extent this has reflected the increasing availability of interactive content, a trend facilitated by expansion in iTV content production, particularly by the BBC. This trend is poised to gain momentum in the immediate future with the recent launch of ‘freeview’ — a free-to-air terrestrial multi-channel digital service which has been established by a BBC Crown Castle International and BSkyB consortium.

Even in the UK, however, digital television is not without its challenges. The experience of ITV Digital in the UK, which delivered a subscription-based terrestrial solution, has been less promising, resulting in its fall into receivership. Likewise, the prospects for cable television providers in the UK, including ntl and Telewest, remain largely pessimistic. And BSkyB has yet to recoup the significant investment associated with its ambitious digital push, although there are clear indications that it is starting to generate positive returns associated with its digitisation. Despite these limitations, however, digital television is rapidly becoming a part of the British television landscape.

Varan, D., & Morrison, T. (2002). Digital television in Australia: 2002 Industry survey. Australian Broadcast Authority.