January 9, 2008
Two days ago I wrote a piece about small TV broadcasters that won’t make the transition to digital TV. Under the headline: “Many small stations wont make DTV transition”. They will continue to broadcast in analog. Now, why is that a big deal?
Many viewers who will get a converter box will need to think twice to get the right one if they want to continue watching the station in analog in a smooth way. That is – to switch of the converter box and continue watching analog TV. But all the converter boxes doesn’t work that way. Only three of the models approved by NTIA will work in the preferred way. This according to an article by excellent reporter John Dunbar at Associated press (AP), who has also picked up the story. As I mentioned in my blog some bloggers have been writing on the subject for some time. Washington Post also picked up the story today. As always when AP writes it will put a real spin through national media.
Great that this story floats to mainstream media and consumers attention.
January 3, 2008
Many people I have spoken with about the transition often confuse or mix the transition to digital TV with HDTV programing. As we know, HDTV has little to do with the actual transition to digital TV. However, I think this is one if the major challenges for stakeholders: to try to separate HDTV from DTV.
I really don’t believe they will succeed. Here is one fresh example from a headline in the consumers section at local broadcaster CBS 5 covering San Francisco, Oakland and San José: $40 HDTV Conversion Coupons Available Jan. 1
As we have seen the past few days the news from NTIA and yesterdays AP article by John Dunbar, headlined “Feds share coupons to help TV transition” that has spread to several hundreds of media outlets throughout the United States. And the requests for coupons have been enormous, initiated in large extent by the media coverage.
But this is also one of the signs of how hard it is to create awareness among consumers and sometimes among stakeholders themselves. I guess people would love to have HDTV coupons since HDTV is the hottest way to view TV these days.
September 7, 2007
The Cable TV Industry has launched an add campaign to keep cable viewers comfortable in their sofas. The campaign consists of four 30-second spots for TV. They will run until the actual switchover in February, 2009 from now and the pricetag is $200 millions. The ads began to run on TV-stations in the Washington D.C market this week according to AP.
If you want to view the ads you can see them at National Cable & Telecommunications Associations, NCTA, site. The ads seems to be tailored for elderly and Spanish speaking audiences. Two groups that many has raised concerns for. Interestingly enough the ads starts out in the D.C market. As a symbolic gesture to make lawmakers and stakeholders to see the ads firsthand. The campaign are headlined “Get Ready For Digital TV”. FCC has previously labeled it’s information efforts as “Tomorrows TV today”.
According to Broadcasting and Cable,B&E, the campaign is not only to fulfill the need for information but also to market cable TV as an alternative for those who need to switch.
Also, NAB is launching the first PSA campaigns by the end of september according to B&E.
July 26, 2007
Today’s hearing in the U.S. Senate put some limelight on the event that will affect about 20 million U.S households. Good news is that NAB will launch public announcements airing in December, according to LA Times. Mainstream media reported from the hearing focusing on the deep concerns that Senators expressed today.
Reuters headlines its piece: Many in the dark about TV switch: U.S. lawmakers.
Fox News carries the story from AP headlined: Senators Worried About TV ‘Train Wreck’
The L.A Times business reporter Jim Puzzanghera write that Senators decries the present conditions among TV-viewers. The efforts that are made this far by the Government and Government agencies are to few and very late. Senators raised concerns that voters/ consumers would call them and not the stakeholders in the TV industry if the transition backfires.
Reactions in the blogosphere follows the same beat. Nate Anderson at Ars Technica writes about the problems seniors will face because of the transition. Since the group above 50 watches TV more than 5.5 hrs a day and their generally low understanding of the transition and converter boxes. Anderson writes that “you have the conditions for a perfect storm”. He also writes ads:”Disgruntled seniors are unlikely to storm Washington with torches and pitchforks, but they are a powerful voting bloc”.
Multichannel News reporter Ted Hearn, writes that the DTV transition scares Senator McCaskill (D-Mo). She finds the transition is already tomorrow by Governmental standards. And the Senator ads “There is no anger that comes close to the anger of an American who can’t get television.” writes Hearn.
NAB estimates that there are about 69 million analog TV-sets in U.S. households that can go dark on February 17, 2009. NTIAs converter box coupons will only suffice for 33.5 million converter boxes with the budget that are expected. NAB also estimates that 60% of consumers are not aware of the transition to DTV as of today. But even these figures varies among stakeholders.
I find it remarkable that the facts about TV viewers still are unclear. It is one thing if people know about the transition date as such. But the core challenge to manage is to make consumers understand what to do or if they are affected at all. For me this hearing is a benchmark for the status of the transition. I really don’t expect that politiceners will know the details of the transition. And I do really wonder what the politiceners can come up with to turnaround the present state of the transition.
In my view there is no one else better suited for the mission than the TV industry. They have the real ways and means to make the transition smooth and successful.
Their secret tool?
July 11, 2007
Well, some of the mainstream media is trying to explain the transition in a general way. AP has posted a video about the DTV transition. Lets track how this video may trickle down to local newsmedia.
By the way – I think it is boring.. What do you think?