Arlington, VA–The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) are coordinating their efforts to broaden educational outreach to consumers about the transition to digital television (DTV).
“We are excited and pleased to partner with NCTA to undertake this important effort,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “Digital and high-definition television (HDTV) continue to capture the imagination of consumers across the nation. Indeed, CEA forecasts that this year sales of HDTV sets will outpace sales of analog TVs. With a hard date set for the end of analog broadcasting, we are now in the home stretch to completing this historic transition. As we continue on this journey, all industries involved have a responsibility to educate consumers about this exciting new era in television. To this end, we will combine our award-winning experience in DTV consumer education with cable’s creativity and broad reach to help ensure consumers have easy access to quality information about this transition.”
“The cable industry shares the view that it is vitally important for all consumers to understand the realities and opportunities presented by the digital transition,” said NCTA president & CEO Kyle McSlarrow. “While cable has invested billions of dollars to jump start the digital TV transition and now offers robust high-definition packages to most customers, it is clear that there is a general lack of awareness of the impending transition to all-digital broadcasting, and the implications for TV viewers. The goal of this comprehensive campaign is to utilize the shared resources of these industries to educate consumers about this significant transition.”
While specific details of the campaign are being developed, efforts likely will include: public service announcements, enhanced retailer sales force education, outreach via on demand services, bilingual education, and comprehensive cable customer communication.
The associations also will seek to work with local government and community officials to conduct constituent outreach. This joint campaign will supplement the vast efforts already underway by the individual associations.
CEA’s wealth of voluntary educational and promotional initiatives already includes websites, printed collateral and media outreach. CEA currently operates four websites that promote the DTV transition through consumer and dealer education. The websites include www.antennaweb.org, www.myceknowhow.com, www.CEAconnectionsguide.com, and www.ce.org/hdtv. CEA also provides resources to help train and provide the latest information to retailers and downloadable and reproducible tip sheets, brochures, and point-of-purchase materials.
A significant benefit of cable’s 10-year $100 billion fiber optic investment is the aggressive rollout by NCTA member companies of new digital and HD cable services and programming. Today, 96 million homes are passed by a cable system that offers HDTV service, which represents all of the top 100 TV markets and nearly 90 percent of all TV households. In addition, nearly two dozen cable networks now provide HD programming on a full-time or part-time basis – in a variety of genres including news, sports, movies, general interest and more.
Shapiro and McSlarrow also called upon other industries and relevant government agencies to join in the effort. “DTV education must become a national priority,” Shapiro said. “While millions of consumers have made the transition seamlessly, hundreds of millions more have questions or are completely unaware. We invite industry associations, government agencies, organizations representing key constituencies and all others who can help get the word out to join in our effort.”
CEA and NCTA remain committed to leading the way in providing point-of-sale educational materials and overall HDTV promotion and DTV transition education.