TV ads most useful in informing public about digital switchover

IN AN effort to alleviate doubts that the public were not properly informed about tomorrow’s analogue to digital switchover, the department in charge of publicising the changes said around 94.3 per cent of participants in a survey this week were aware of the switchover.

The survey carried out by the Office of the Commissioner of Electronic Communications and Postal Regulations (OCECPR) involved 1352 participants island wide who were interviewed over the phone by the telephone centre Evresis, between June 22 and 27.

Out of those aware that the analogue signal would be switched off around 95.2 per cent knew when it was to take place. Also, out of those aware, around 83.2 per cent knew what was required to get a digital signal. On May 31 only 52.9 per cent were aware and only 66.9 per cent knew when.

According to Dr Neophytos Papadopoulos, OCECPR manager, the media was over reacting when it ran stories saying the public was unaware.

“We tried to cover the campaign in as many ways as possible,” said Dr Polis Michaelides, commissioner of the OCECPR.

Michaelides stressed that even though the campaign started 18 months ago the “small team” was limited by time and money. The total budget for the campaign came to €206,500 when they had initially asked for €400,000. The campaign involved the launch of a helpline in February, the circulation of leaflets in mid-March and video clips aired by television stations in June. It also involved adverts on the radio and on billboards.

Statistics show that the helpline received the most calls from the public after television stations aired videos to inform the public in mid June, with the survey showing that 84.2 per cent found out via the clips aired on TV. The helpline was receiving up to 300 calls daily from June 20.

Communications Minister, Erato Kozakou-Markoulli allayed fears on Tuesday that the 60 communities, mostly in the mountains, that still have no access to CyBC’s digital platform would continue receiving analogue broadcasts from CyBC until October.

The 151 helpline as well as the website will be available to the public until October.