Trendspotting #26

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The Independent Online
So Who Trusts A Survey?

It would seem that not all journalists are created equal. Some are more trustworthy than others, according to a poll by MORI released this week. It shows that the third most trusted public figures after doctors and teachers are TV newsreaders. Fully three-quarters of the population trust our Jon Snows and Moira Stewarts to tell the truth. Less exalted hacks do not do so well - only 15 per cent of the population would trust us. This is, of course, because of the perception that tabloid journalists make things up. But it probably isn't worth worrying about because, according to the same survey, only 55 per cent of the public trust pollsters and their polls anyway.

Home Shopping Is Pie In The Sky Regardless of all the headlines that digital TV has generated about the coming 200-channel future and great home shopping opportunities, the reality is likely to be more mundane. Only 12 per cent of homes are likely to invest in digital receiving equipment by the year 2000, according to a new forecast by analysts at Goldman Sachs. Given the likely hard-selling of the new technology by the media groups involved through their allied newspapers - from The Sun to The Express, expect to see lots of super- soaraway digital offers - only a fifth of households are likely to have access to digital TV by 2003. This makes government plans to close down the analogue spectrum that is currently used by TV, and privatise it by around the year 2005, look hopelessly optimistic.


Digital TV's big offer to the public will be the ability to order films to play on demand, or as near it as possible. Films have been the drivers of satellite and cable TV and new research indicates that our love for Hollywood is big business all along the high street. The pre-recorded video market has grown by 74 per cent in the last six years, and we spent a whopping pounds 764m on our film libraries in 1996. This isn't just a threat to traditional video stores - you never know, it could mean that by the time digital TV launches, we've all already got our own video on demand sorted out, thank you very much.


Advertising agencies are rapidly revising their estimates of how successful Channel 5 is likely to be by the end of the year. They originally thought the new station could attract 5 per cent of the viewing and take pounds 110m to pounds 130m of advertisers' money. This has now dropped, with Mediapolis -- the people who buy some of Procter & Gamble's and Microsoft's advertising - revising its estimates down to pounds 90m for 1997. Nevertheless, Mediapolis is trying to look on the bright side: Channel 5 is taking a disproportionate number of its viewers from the BBC - especially BBC2 - and the addition of the channel has increased all commercial television viewing from 54 per cent of viewing to 57 per cent. When overall viewing is going down, agencies are glad to get any extra viewers they can put ads in front of.