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Field Reports

1 Jul, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response

Digital TV Transition Relatively Smooth, Working Out Kinks

By Jacqueline Renfrow (

WASHINGTON — The nationwide switch of all television signal transmissions from analog to digital was completed June 12 and, thus far, seems to be welcomed by consumers. One survey by Harris Corporation noted that 69 percent of people felt the transition would be good for them and their families, despite some earlier reports of consumer confusion on getting converter box coupons and equipment requirements.

Nine hundred seventy-one full-power television stations in 195 markets completed the final wave of the transition. The national call center reported 317,450 calls on the date of the switch out of an estimated 15 million households impacted, according to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

Just two days later, June 14, call volume had decreased to 62,949. About 28 percent of the calls were seeking help setting up digital converter boxes, 26 percent reported difficulty in receiving a specific station, and 23 percent needed help resolving broader reception issues.

Consumers in some markets had issues when digital converter boxes that had been programmed, or scanned, with channel locations before the June 12 date did not properly update despite being rescanned. The FCC countered this with an advisory that included tips to solving the problem. Also, some markets — including Chicago, Philadelphia and New York — had signal loss on certain stations, but field staff was sent out to combat issues immediately. Supplies of converter boxes in all markets appeared to be adequate.

The entire effort cost broadcasters $1.2 billion in order to increase awareness, which jumped from 38 percent in January 2007 to more than 98 percent in June. "America is the first large country in the world to complete the transition to all-digital broadcasting, and our early reports show that the transition has been a success," says Jonathan Collegio, NAB vice president for digital television. "Television broadcasters, from local stations to major networks, took the lead in educating and prompting viewers to take advantage of the numerous benefits of free digital television."

Study Expects an Increase in Online Display and Video Advertising

By Jacqueline Renfrow (

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — According to an analysis by SNL Kagan, online display ad spending and online video ad spending are expected to grow significantly in 2009, and pick up even more in 2010, reports

Display ad spending online is expected to increase 4.6 percent this year to $3.4 billion (the lowest growth rate in five years). But once the economic recession recedes, in 2010, display ad revenues are expected to grow by 6.6 percent through 2019.

In other SNL Kagan projections, video is the fastest growing ad format and will go from $978 million in 2009 to $9.9 billion in ad revenue in 2019. In general, online ad spending is expected to slow its pace after double-digit growth rates for more than five years. In 2009, online ad spending is expected to increase by a 6.2-percent compound annual growth rate to $24.6 billion, which would be its lowest revenue growth since 2003. However, compared with other media segments, Internet revenues will fare better in 2009, due in part to a trend to allocate more dollars to online advertising. The growth is also due to a shift from traditional media outlets to the Web.

 United States DTV Demographics
United States DTV Demographics

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