Ministers have come under mounting pressure to protect traditional TV and radio of tens of millions of people in the UK.
Campaigners argue that Ofcom figures prove that more than 53 million people still watch broadcast television every week.
According to the media watchdog some 79% of the total British population still watch TV transmitted through an aerial. This equates to 53.19 people based on the 2021 census data.
TV and radio transmitted through an aerial is only guaranteed until the mid-2030s under current plans by the Government.
But Broadcast 2040+, a coalition of campaigners, will use the data to press for terrestrial services and Freeview to be protected for at least another 17 years.
Don’t miss… Campaign group demands traditional TV through aerial is kept until 2040
It will submit a document to Ofcom which is calling for evidence on the future of TV distribution.
The consultation closes on 12 December.
The document, seen by the Daily Express, argues: “Millions of people access TV and radio content through broadcast services. Ofcom’s Media Nations 2023 report stated that broadcast TV has a strong weekly reach of 79% and the use of DAB radio services is rising with 88% of adults listening in for an average of 20 hours each week, the majority choosing terrestrial radio.”
Referring to Ofcom’s review, which was set up by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer in October, the document goes on to say: “Viewers and listeners must be put at the centre of this discussion and any decision on the future of terrestrial broadcast platforms.
“This cannot simply be the media industry having a circular discussion with itself.
“Our position is clear – Government and regulators must provide certainty for broadcast services to 2040 and beyond. This is essential to support the future of this vital platform for all UK citizens”
Broadcast 2040+ includes a variety of groups encompassing Silver Voices, the Rural Services Network, the Voice of the Listener & Viewer, the Digital Poverty Alliance and others.
Dennis Reed, Director of Silver Voices said: “Millions of viewers in the UK still rely on traditional TV as part of their daily lives.
“As Ofcom consider the future of this essential service, they need to understand the strength of feeling amongst the British people and they must act.
“Unless traditional TV and radio are protected to 2040 and beyond, we risk a historic injustice – especially true for older people, the poor, the lonely and the disconnected. We will not allow public entertainment and information to be reserved for the wealthy, that way lies a fractured society.”
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