U.S DTV Awareness On The Rise

March 26, 2008

News has been low lately about the DTV switch. But today a survey reveals that 6 out of 10 Americans now are aware of the U.S. transition to DTV. BroadcastingCable reports about the survey made by Frank N. Magid Associates. In September 2007 a survey found that only 34% knew about the transition. U.S consumer awareness is on the rise and that is good news. However, it is still a good deal of work that remains. The next question for consumers to be asked is more crucial, that is: If they know if they are affected by the transition at all. Cable and satellite viewers are not affected directly.

In Sweden, one of few countries that has completed a national transition, the DTV switch is over and done. Last survey sheds new light on the transition. First, Consumers who were most negative to do the switch, now is among the most positive – their low expectations were exceeded. Second, now one third of elderly people are actively viewing a greater amount of channels than before the switch. Third, most people had a converter box installed before the actual transition – that proofs that the information awareness campaigns worked well. Mission completed!

Anders Bjers

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Some 40% Picks Free DTV After Transition – Take II

January 18, 2008

Yesterday I wrote about a survey made by APTS, that some 43 percent of households will pick free programming in DTV after the transition. The story is also reported by TVNewsDay, Washington Post and Reuters.

But I am asking: what about those 67% that won’t pick free programming in DTV? How will they continue to watch TV? The survey doesn’t tell. OK, we can subtract another 12% that say they will choose pay-TV. But the rest – another 55% that is missing out in the information about the survey. Can someone enlighten me about this case?

Few knows why the transition is taking place. The survey finds that 77 percent don’t know that the government has ordered the transition. On the other hand, it is not only the government who wants to push for a transition. This is something a whole industry has been waiting for to do for many years. The transition is a huge promise for many stakeholders. And also for viewers. Bust most don’t know it yet.

Lawson comments on this saying: “It appears that the government’s positive message regarding the reasons for the transition has fallen on deaf ears”.

This is crucial information. FCC and NTIA has little money for national information campaigns. NAB and the DTV coalition is doing most of the work moving their audiences. That is good and appropriate. However, I think there is a need for unbiased information. Something FCC or NTIA should handle.

Even if much more is reported about the transition in mainstream media, much has to be done to bring awareness to people. In the case of Sweden I think it was mainly thanks to many different but synchronized information efforts that made the difference. Among them: households had brochures mailed home, local governments were early on in meetings about the transition, local ad campaigns were active for a long time and media had many reasons to report on the transition on a local level. Again, a transition is a hyper local event.

Most of us relate to TV as to local or regional programming. But of course, if national news channels report about the transition it will have a huge effect.

But I still am looking for a widespread debate about the “why”. The reason for a transition. That is not only about the governments role in the transition but for all stakeholder to be part of. And the debate will, in my mind, ignite discussions on all levels. A good thing to welcome. When people are engaged in a subject it is easier to become active. Thats is in this case, to check if you are affected and if – get a converter box. When they arrive…

Anybody knows when?

Anders Bjers