Digital Dividend Review - A report of consumer research conducted for Ofcom by Holden Pearmain and ORC International
1.1 Ofcom, in the Digital Dividend Review (“DDR”) is examining the options arising from the release of UHF spectrum afforded by the digital switchover programme, which may become available for new uses between 2008 and 2012.
1.2 The potential future uses of this spectrum are wide ranging and include: broadband wireless access, cellular mobile (for example, 3G and systems beyond IMT-2000), further terrestrial digital television services (including standard definition television, high definition television and local digital TV), mobile digital multimedia (including mobile television), and Programme Making and Special Events (“PMSE”).
1.3 To assist policy development, Ofcom commissioned Analysys Consulting, leading a consortium including DotEcon, Aegis, Mason and Dr Damian Tambini, to undertake a study to further its understanding of the available spectrum and its possible uses based on detailed market, technical and economic analysis.
1.4 A programme of consumer research was undertaken, to develop Ofcom’s understanding of consumer and citizen attitudes towards:
- digital terrestrial TV (standard definition TV channels, high definition TV, local TV);
- mobile TV;
- mobile broadband;
- improved mobile phone coverage; and
- wireless home networks.
1.5 The research covered attitudes towards the potential uses of the spectrum from two perspectives; personal value to the individual and the value to society.
1.6 A variety of methods have been applied in order to gain as robust a set of results as possible.
1.7 There were three main parts to the research programme:
- quantitative market research was designed using a ‘stated preference’ conjoint approach [ (-1-)] and a number of other methodologies such as chip allocation and ‘Gabor Granger’ questions ;
- qualitative, deliberative consumer workshops; and
- a face to face omnibus survey.
- To improve Ofcom’s understanding of the value to consumers and society of the potential services which may make use of the digital dividend spectrum;
- To measure the relative importance and value to consumers and society of these services; and
- To measure the relative importance and value of service attributes (these are key service characteristics, such as the level of coverage, which are likely to influence the value to consumers and society of the services).
- To validate/challenge and add context to the quantitative research; and
- To explore in greater depth the value to society associated with new services on digital terrestrial television, mobile television and mobile broadband internet services.
Use of consumer research in the Digital Dividend Review
1.8 The consumer research was commissioned to form part of the evidence base for the Digital Dividend Review. Consumer views and opinions formed an important part of the evidence considered by Ofcom in developing the consultation on the award of the digital dividend spectrum.
1.9 In particular, the consumer research evidence has been relied upon:
- To assess the value to society of potential uses of DDR spectrum; and
- To inform analysis of the willingness to pay for spectrum and for economic modelling.
1.10 When analysing value to society in the Digital Dividend Review Ofcom has used the following classification of sources of value. These sources of value are discussed in greater detail in Annex 7 to the consultation document.
1.11 Based on this categorisation we believe that responses to questions about individual preferences generally correspond to consumer value whilst responses to questions about value to society generally correspond to total value. Hence, where value to society is in excess of private value there is additional value to society (i.e. external value) present.
1.12 It is important to bear in mind that interpretation of the research results within this framework for considering value is not always straightforward. It is possible that when answering questions about the value to society (in isolation from questions about private value) respondents may have focused on the external value, and in particular the broader social value, which may be generated from the use of the service. Therefore, the responses to the qualitative research in particular should be viewed with this in mind.
1.-Conjoint is a technique that derives the relative importance of service attributes based on carefully crafted series of “Which would you prefer?” type questions, providing a task which is easy for the respondent, and data that are perhaps more reliable than the results of straightforward questioning since the task more closely mimics the thought processes involved in making a purchase decision.
The full document is available below