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Digital UK

Northern Ireland was the last region in the UK to make the historic switch from analogue to digital television services in October 2012. More than a year before this JComms was appointed by the public body, Digital UK, to provide a pro-active press office function and to roll out an information campaign to ensure every single television viewer in the country was prepared.

JComms was tasked with developing an eye-catching consumer-focused series of events which would be widely and consistently reported by the print and broadcast media as well as an information campaign aimed at fully preparing political representatives so they could advise their constituents.
Digital UK

Digital UK

We provided a direct point of contact with media and operated a 24/7 press office to deal with media enquiries. We ensured that Digital UK was kept informed and updated about media activity at all times.  We also robustly challenged and corrected any misunderstanding in the media about the switchover.

Objectives

  • To achieve 100% awareness of the date of switchover
  • To ensure everyone knew what they needed to do to prepare

Strategy

  • A series of publicity events aimed at generating maximum media coverage
  • A suite of briefing materials prepared for media
  • Focus PR activity on groups including older people, the vulnerable and geographically remote

Key messages

  • Switching over is easy and cheap and in some cases free
  • Switching over means synchronicity with RTE and RoI digitisation programme.
  • You don’t need a new television set – a freeview box will work with any television no matter how old
  • Help is at hand – a D:UK Help Team is available to help you set up your freeview box

Tactics

  • JPR held a series of one-to-one briefings with news editors and programme commissioners
  • We helped build collaboration between UTV and BBC NI so that both would be represented throughout the information campaign
  • The print media, reluctant at first to engage with the story, was encouraged to take up the story prominently, because JPR repeatedly underlined it local significance
  • JPR created a toolbox of creative ideas which would help engage media for Digital UK’s consideration
  • The JPR team co-ordinated a spectacular launch involving the ‘digitisation’ of the Albert Clock in Belfast before the assembled press to announce the date of switchover.
  • We formed close relationships with local radio stations and regional print media where low digital uptake was most frequently recorded and identified stories and photography of interest to specific geographic areas as well as localising generic Digital UK releases
  • We helped train Digital UK chief Denis Wolinski for all media and political engagements

 

Outcomes

  • Unanimous media support through coverage of stunts, events and date launch
  • Saturation media coverage on switchover day
  • Fully informed local authorities, MLAs and MPs, Citizens’ Advice Bureaus and community groups
  • 98.9% success rate. The 1.1% remaining was in areas where no signal is possible.
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