November 20, 2008
/ by Heidi Sullivan
We’ve all seen the commercials: On February 17th, all full-power TV stations in the U.S. must begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format. Other than making sure our old analog TVs are digital-ready, what does this mean for communications professionals?
First, a primer on the basics of digital television:
So what does this mean for communications professionals, advertisers and marketers? Cision Blog asked the National Association of Broadcasters. Our interview is below:
Q: Do you think that many stations will have multicast offerings after the DTV transition?
A: Many stations are currently multicasting, meaning they offer more than one channel of programming. While local broadcasters are focused now on getting consumers ready for next February’s transition to DTV, we expect more stations will take a serious look at additional types of programming they can provide to their viewers once the transition is completed.
Q: Do you know what types of stations these will be (unique local content, syndicated programming, paid programming, etc.)?
A: An example of the first major use of multicasting is Weather Plus, which was created by Hearst Argyle. In addition to weather, some stations are offering channels with traffic information, foreign language and affiliate station programming. For example, in Washington, D.C., the local PBS station, WETA, provides an HD channel, a kids channel and a lifestyle channel.
Stations know their audiences well, and multicasting gives them the opportunity to offer niche-oriented programming.
Q: How do you think the DTV transition will affect media relations professionals, advertisers and marketers?
A: The transition to digital is the biggest change in the industry since television’s transition from black and white to color, and it has major implications for consumers, advertisers and media. Nearly 20 million households are affected by the DTV transition. Unless they upgrade, they could lose reception entirely, which would have serious consequences for advertisers and media. NAB has formed a coalition with leading advertisers to keep the advertising community informed of the implications of the transition and to ensure advertisers, as well as viewers, enjoy a smooth transition to DTV.
The DTV transition represents a major growth opportunity for advertisers. With multicasting, advertisers have the opportunity to reach a broad and new audience of viewers on channels that didn’t exist before.
Q: Will the home viewer notice a difference in picture quality or station innovation following the transition?
A: Actually over-the-air viewers don’t need to wait until February to enjoy the benefits of DTV. If they upgrade to digital now, they can have better pictures and sound, and more programming choices today, because 93% of stations are already broadcasting in digital format.
Q: I would like to provide a link for those who are looking for more information. Which do you recommend?
A: Here are helpful online resources on the transition:
DTV Answers – NAB’s consumer-friendly Web site on all things DTV
Antenna Web – A resource to help viewers figure out what type of antenna they need by plugging in their address
DTV2009.gov – Apply for converter box coupons on this government-run site
myGreenElectronics – For unwanted electronics, find recycling and donating facilities near you using this searchable database.
FCC Consumer Facts on DTV – An FCC guide on hooking up a converter box to your VCR, DVR or DVD recorder for recording purposes.
So get ready for the digital TV transition. Like social media, this transition will open up more opportunities than communicators have seen ever before.
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