Industry-funded SwitchCo launches today

SwitchCo, the industry-funded body charged with the coordination of digital switchover, launches today. The body has been formed by the public service broadcasters BBC, ITV, Channel 4, five, Teletext and S4C and the digital terrestrial television multiplex operators Crown Castle UK and SDN, all of whom are represented on its management board and provide funding.

Two positions on the board have been made available for those representing the interests of the supply chain—television equipment manufacturers, retailers and aerial manufacturers and installers.

SwitchCo's chairman is Barry Cox, previously acting chairman of the SwitchCo working group. Ford Ennals, previously managing director of Universal Group Direct, the direct marketing division of Universal Music, and a former marketing director of LloydsTSB, will take up the CEO position in May.

Andy Townend, previously acting CEO of the SwitchCo working group, is director of commercial and business affairs, reporting to Ennals.

Barry Cox, also deputy chairman of Channel 4, said: "Communicating switchover to the UK public needs the leadership of someone with a strong background in marketing and communications. Ford Ennals' experience in launching the new LloydsTSB brand, and his overseeing of the successful merger and integration of the two banks, makes him ideal to head the organisation."

Ford Ennals said: "Digital television is a great UK success story—almost 60% of households have already made the switch. But moving the whole country to digital will be a great challenge. My first task will be to start a dialogue with television viewers, consumer groups and other important stakeholders to get their views so we can begin to shape our communication plans."

In a statement, SwitchCo said it has three major tasks:

SwitchCo takes forward the work of the Government's Digital Television Action Plan (DTAP), completed in December 2004. A SwitchCo working group has been operating since October 2004.

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