U.S. Senate Prepares Hearing on DTV Awareness

Interestingly enough the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will hold a hearing on July 26, due to concerns about lack of information campaigns to bring awareness to consumers about the forthcoming transition to digital TV on Feb 17 09. The headline for the hearing is: Preparing Consumers for the Digital Television Transition.

With less than two years to go there are no converterboxes on the shelfs, no campaigns in full swing and an awareness among consumers below 40%. Members of the Senate are probably growing worried that the transition has a too steep hill to climb when it comes to prepare and alert consumers in time before the analog broadcasts ends.

Maybe a hearing sounds boring. That little of interest would come out of a hearing like this. But watch the list of witnesses grow and decide later if its worth to listen in or not.

I hope more national and local media will pick up what is said during the hearing. If nothing else – to learn about the transition. I also think it can be a great opportunity for different stakeholders to check what the status is on the preparations in the TV-industry. On he other hand with no boxes in stores you don’t want to get people alerted yet. Alerted or aware is the same as to activate consumers.

Some weeks ago I was on an expert panel at GAO, U.S. Gov Accountability Office. That panel also focused on information campaigns that bring awareness to consumers. It’s a delicate challenge. When it is about TV it is even more delicate. To turn off the analog signals to peoples TV sets is something many consumers will have a hard time to understand the reason for, in the first place. Many more reviews are to expect.

Stay tuned for more.

Anders Bjers

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