ONdigital ready for transmissiON

13th November 1998

ONdigital, the world's first digital pay television through an aerial, goes on air, as promised, on 15 November, less than eleven months after the grant of its licences. ONdigital brings viewers 30 of the best TV channels from the BBC, Carlton, Granada and Sky.

It is the only service that:

  • allows customers to choose their own Primary channels from £7.99 a month,
  • delivers all the terrestrial channels in digital - BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5,
  • includes in digital the most popular channels on multichannel TV: Sky One, The Cartoon Network, UK Gold and Eurosport, together with dedicated Sky sport and movie channels.

In their first week, ONdigital customers will be able to see some fantastic programmes, from world class nature documentaries, Premier League football, from The Simpsons to Coronation Street and Inspector Morse. ONdigital is digital television made simple.

Chief Executive Stephen Grabiner said:

"We're ready to go. From this weekend our customers can go into their retailer and buy a box, go home and plug and play. Digital television made simple - through an aerial - is here. No dish, no cable - and no compulsory telephone connection.
"The transmitters are ON. The channels are ready. The dealers are ready. The boxes are in the shops. Our switch ON brings digital television through an aerial straight into the homes of viewers for the first time."
"We are spending £10 million between now and Christmas on TV, newspaper and poster advertising launching ONdigital's service. We'll make sure our prospective customers know that the simplest way to get digital television is with ONdigital, through an aerial and how and where to get it."
"Philips have manufactured the boxes, we've tested the transmission centre and the transmitters, trained the retailers, set up the customer service centre and prepared customer and retailer literature and other materials."
"Now everything is in place. The factories are at full production. Tens of thousands of ONdigital boxes have been shipped to stores to go on sale. Stores are fitted out. Choice has arrived for the digital TV customer - and the simple, obvious choice is ONdigital."

TV advertising started on 11 November, the latest stage in the marketing campaign which began on 28 September with press advertising, followed by posters from 1 November, leading up to Christmas. In addition to ONdigital's main marketing and advertising campaign there will be co-operative advertising with dealers, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The TV advertising features twelve top TV stars: Ulrika Jonsson with David Ginola; Jonathan Ross with Richard Attenborough; Ian Wright with Terry Venables; Dale Winton with Magnus Magnusson; Melvyn Bragg with Chris Tarrant; Julian Clary with Chris Ellison. Reinforcing its commitment to the highest levels of customer service, ONdigital will provide simple, straightforward customer material, free of technical jargon including a clear, simple guide to connecting and switching on the set-top box - no hidden costs and no legal requirement to connect the box to a phone line.

In addition, the ONdigital smart card is packed with the set-top box, allowing instant switch on as soon as the customer has got it home and plugged it in. Finally, Ulrika Jonsson will light up the Crystal Palace transmitter on the evening of 15 November in a stunning spectacle visible all over London to celebrate ONdigital's launch.