Digital UK, the body that led the successful implementation of digital TV switchover (DSO) from 2008-2012, has appointed Jonathan Thompson as its new Chief Executive. He succeeds David Scott, Digital UK’s current CEO, who announced in May 2013 that he was stepping down from the role.
Thompson will oversee Digital UK’s transition to leading developments on the Freeview platform and taking responsibility for strategy and policy, as well as handling the day-to-day technical management of the electronic programme guide.
He was formerly Director of Strategy at both Ofcom and Channel 4, with his most recent role being at DMGT plc, advising on group strategy in both the UK and overseas. He will take up his new role at Digital UK in summer 2013.
Freeview is watched in three-quarters of UK homes, making it the most popular way to receive television. Latest research indicates 11 million households watch Freeview on their main set. Following the completion of digital switchover in 2012, coverage was boosted to reach 98.5 per cent of UK homes.
Caroline Thomson, Chair of Digital UK, said that Thompson was joining the organisation to lead the Freeview platform at a crucial stage in its development. “His experience across broadcasting and media regulation makes him ideally suited to leading the company in the post-switchover era, ensuring free-to-air television remains the foundation of the British system with Freeview at its heart. I would like to pay tribute to David Scott and his very able team in all that they have achieved in such a smooth switchover process. He will leave a strong legacy for Jonathan and the board to build on.”
Thompson said that Digital UK now needed to build on the achievement of Scott and the Digital UK team in delivering digital switchover and ensuring Freeview was available across the whole UK by developing the platform so it could continue to thrive in a rapidly-changing TV landscape. “I believe passionately in the long-term value of Freeview for viewers, and look forward to being part of a very bright future for the platform,” he added.
Following the successful DSO initiative, Digital UK is currently overseeing clearance of terrestrial TV services from the 800MHz band of spectrum to prepare for the launch of 4G mobile broadband services. It also provides day-to-day technical management of the Freeview EPG.