Some of my readers have been getting their knickers in a right old twist of late over falling standards at the BBC and among the mainstream news media in general. But their ire is justified. It's a bugger when people have to look to reports from hedge fund managers in order to get to know what is really going on in their backyard.
Punters could always stick with Little Nicky Machiavelli of course, we report the news months before it happens. A good example is the progress of the switchover from analogue to digital T.V.
Thanks to a report commissioned by the managers of Opus Hedge Fund our analysis of the real reason behind the push to digital, first published here in Nov 2005 (I think) and reprised several times since, has been proved correct.
Naturally, when Machiavelli Blog first said that the great digital changeover was nothing to do with benefits to the consumer and everything to do with politics and handing television in the UK to Murdoch’s Evil Empire a bunch of people who regard themselves as rational and progressive accused Little Nicky of being a dinosaur who is opposed to all progress, thus showing themselves to be dull witted and narrow minded bufoons. Never mistake technological advance for progress. If something improves the lives of the majority at minimal cost it can be called progress, but if a thing diminishes the lives of the majority at high cost it is nothing but the march of corporate fascism.
In Whitehaven, Cumbria, the town chosen to pioneer the television switchover in October this year Freeview, the only alternative to BskyB paid services and “free sat” for which punters pay £150 as opposed to £30 for a Freeview set top box, will not be available before switchover. So the only way people will be able to see television in the interim is by subscribing to a BskyB offering in order to get what they now have for free.
Freeview is a service of dubious quality, its coverage is overstated and the reception in areas with less than excellent signal strength is vulnerable to deterioration due to rain and mist.
Television industry analysts expect BskyB to have achieved 98% penetration in the Whitehaven area by the switchover. And will these people who have to pay for their TV another way get a discount on their TV licence fee. Discount my arse.
NB: To save some smartarse going to check the bogus and misleading map showing Freeview coverage and telling me coverage is excellent, I'll tell you that map would be fine if Cumbria was flat. Unfortunately Cumbria is notoriously not flat. Whitehaven is in an inlet overlooked by high cliffs. Don't belive me? ask fatsally, she stood the market there more times than I did.