Les Nicol writes:Station Hotel meeting Dumfries.One female researcher and mixed group of 8 balanced between the sexes - target group 55yrs and upwards. Although we had again confirmed this research being undertaken by "Other Lines of Enquiry" I had to ask who had commissioned the research. ie: Digital UK.
After introductions we were informed that the meeting would be recorded to assist in the research process. We were then asked in turn how many TV sets we had at home whether they were digital terrestrialanalogue or a mix and how this was delivered. eg: Terrestrial or "SKY" ( I twice tried to correct her in this in stating she should be recognising other Satellite options and not appearing to favour a particular broadcaster - but she stuck to the line of "Freeview" or SKY as the two options)!!
Breaking down the group in terms of delivery 4 had SKY subscriptions 2 had SKY freesat service and 2 with "Freesat". The current situation in this area is the imminent switchover of the terrestrial digital service Caldbeck being the main transmitter with several relay transmitters taking feeds from Caldbeck.
Questions being asked were: what knowledge had we of the changeover through advertising? Were we aware of a two stage introduction? Why most of us had opted for Satellite? What difficulties were incurred for us in getting to grips with managing the changeover?
The researcher contrasted this group with a Carlisle group where most had taken the "Freeview" route but it was pointed out to her that Caldbeck would be offering a full digital terrestrial service to most of Cumbria where in most of Dumfries & Galloway this would not be possible.
An advert was played on a laptop to the group and comments were asked for of it's value to the group and whether we had heard or seen this on TV. The ad depicted an older lady stating how easy it was having gone on-line where step by step instructions were available!
In this particular grouping only one of the ladies present was computer literate and the others did not posses a PC! The two ladies with SKY freesat complained about flyers and being subjected to ongoing cold calls from SKY seeking to have them subscribe and were also stating that SKY were trying to dominate the market.
All the ladies had difficulty with multiple remotes and one who was considering a replacement TV had been advised by a local retail outlet on replacing her SKY box and replacing with a "Freesat" freeview combined TV where she would have the one remote ( sounded like good advice to me).
Of the four men present most thought the SKY route suited them best as they had a keen interest in sport. However they stated SKY had been installed for some time and were becoming aware of "Freesat" were unlikely to change due to the absence of the range of sporting options particularly football.
By the same token they also complained heavily about SKY's dominance of sport on TV and making the point that wihout this output and eg: the History channel would see them consider alternative satallite options. There was a collective view that the elderly those with physical handicap and people with learning difficulties be given assistance both financial and (instructive where necessary involving voluntary groups and the local councils).
Finally a collective view that in the demise of Border ITV news all of the group felt it would have been a more appropriate to have STV news input than been lumped in with Tyne Tees as their output didn't really relate to Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland and the political map.