TV is going digital next February. OK, you probably already knew that. And didn’t care. Or understand what it meant. Which seems to be the case for 85% of consumers. At least that was the case during an extensive survey I conducted around a pool in Miami Beach last February. This scientifically conducted poll, which weighted the answers from the five respondents by which SPF they had used that day and how much of that white greasy stuff the older folk in FL use on their nose, yielded shocking results.
All of them knew about the digital transition. And they were aware they didn’t need to care because they were cable or satellite subscribers. Very impressive.
But there’s research that says there will be hell to pay next year. Last February Nielsen counted The Great Unwired and Unaware at 13 million households. And there are another six million TVHHs with second sets that will not cross the digital divide.
Nielsen’s large survey results backed up my small survey study in February (yeah, I found that scary, too! :>)
Nielsen found that adults over 55 are better prepared than younger households; and Whites and Asians are more ready than Blacks. More Hispanic households still rely on analog, over-the-air broadcast television than non-Hispanics. Over 10 percent of households would have no access to television signals if the transition occurred today.
In Wilmington, NC, almost 9 out of ten TV viewers in an NAB poll said they were aware that analog TV was going away. We’ll get a better idea of if they “get it” this September as the FCC has authorized this market to switch out early. If people run amuck in the streets yelling “I want my (analog) TV,” we’ll know that trouble is around the corner for the rest of the country in February 2009.
Who will be affected will tell us alot about how the media will report the situation. Most of the people who are likely to wake up and have no television in the lives next February are downscale and probably don’t speak English. That’s sounds very uncaring and cold. But it’s basically what will go down when rabbit ears years end next Winter.
And how will this affect things? Not very much. Because, regretably, unless you are a network that targets these viewers (Telemundo? Univision? I see you cringing in the corner!) these aren’t audiences for which you can charge a premium. Highly desirable, young, trendy, upscale — not! And for most broadcasters, there may not be enough of them to matter.
After a year of broadcasters flooding the airwaves with PSAs (maybe they should have adapted a more aggressive slogan, like “Go Digital Or Die”) and the government offering coupons to purchase converters, these groups aren’t getting the message that their TVs Will Be Toast.
Perhaps what this group needs is a grass roots, broadcast sponsored coalition to look after this mostly minority group. Maybe something with a snappy name like Don’t Count Us Out. Yeah, that’s the ticket.