ATSC 3.0 … Excited, And Unprepared


More than 75% of broadcast industry executives say they are excited about ATSC 3.0, while more than 70% reported that their station’s conversion is either unscheduled or more than two years away.

These results come from a survey of local broadcast television professionals fielded in January 2017 by WideOrbit, a media industry tech platform for connecting audiences and ads everywhere.

The data is incorporated into a newly released report from the firm, “ATSC 3.0 and The Future of Broadcasting: The Industry View,” that seeks to summarize the broadcast industry’s understanding of ATSC 3.0 and its potential benefits and costs. Respondents are comprised of sales, traffic, engineering and general business executives at station groups across the U.S.

Among the highlights:

  • Broadcasters are enthusiastic about ATSC 3.0 and most are taking steps to adopt it. More than 75% of respondents said they are excited about ATSC 3.0. More than half said their station group is actively examining whether to make the transition.
  • The broadcasting industry has not completely assessed the cost of ATSC 3.0. Respondents offered a wide range of predictions of the cost per station for ATSC 3.0 transition. Capital investment and operating costs remain a crucial area for media companies to understand before moving forward despite the findings of a recent BIA/Kelsey report that large and medium-sized markets stations can recoup ATSC 3.0-related incremental costs in three years.

Thus, it is WideOrbit’s conclusion that broadcasters don’t have a complete picture yet of the technologies that need to be replaced or upgraded. “Respondents do not have a clear idea yet of what technology upgrades will be required nor the software and business practices for accommodating an advanced interactive advertising business,” it says.

Further, WideOrbit argues that for ATSC 3.0 to be successful, “viewers need the industry to offer compelling reasons to make the switch. Respondents said that improvement in the audience experience, which was a key driver to the rapid consumer adoption of HDTV, is ATSC 3.0’s least important benefit. Perhaps as a result, more than half of broadcasters are concerned that consumers won’t purchase ATSC 3.0-compatible televisions.”

WideOrbit Chief Marketing Officer Mickey Wilson comments, “This survey shows that behind the broadcast industry’s enthusiasm for ATSC 3.0 and its promise of new advertising opportunities, broadcast executives are excited about the ability to deliver advanced advertising campaigns for their clients and nearly all of them understand its potential for opening new revenue streams and business models.”

Wilson acknowledges that unknown factors remain for broadcasters, who should take a thoughtful approach to identifying and satisfying requirements for new hardware, software, skills, and sales, traffic and billing processes.

“We recommend that media companies carefully research the technical requirements for operating an ATSC 3.0-based advanced advertising business,” Wilson says. “They can start today by collaborating with their hardware and software vendors to define their group’s ATSC 3.0 strategy and how they can work together to realize it.”


  1. “Further, WideOrbit argues that for ATSC 3.0 to be successful, “viewers need the industry to offer compelling reasons to make the switch.”

    I’m still looking for a compelling reason for the switch to digital.

    As far as I’m concerned from a viewer’s viewpoint, it’s been nothing but a huge scam that made every TV broadcaster replace every bit of equipment and everyone in the US buy new TVs that, by the way, aren’t as good as what they replaced.

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