CEA, NAB spar over spectrum poll


The Consumer Electronics Association commissioned a poll from Zogby/463, and claims that consumers are all for repurposing spectrum, including that used for broadcast television, and that they generally assign low importance to TV when comparing media. NAB noted that the poll was unique, producing results that other polls fail to support.

The CEA/Zogby poll made a number of claims. It said only about 10% of citizens go to television for breaking news, preferring the internet and cable. Six to one said faster wireless services would be preferable to broadcast television as a spectrum tenant. The poll also says that 40% cited television as the medium they could most easily do without, compared to only 3% who said internet and 17% who said cable.

NAB Executive Vice President of Communications Dennis Wharton wasted no time firing back. “We’re not surprised that CEA continues its misinformation campaign with more bogus studies and polling,” he said. “CEA apparently is not aware that the number of broadcast TV viewers is growing, not shrinking, as evidenced by the surge in pay TV cord-cutters. Moreover, every survey but for those funded by CEA finds that most Americans continue to rely on broadcasting as their primary source for news.”

Wharton concluded, “We look forward to an honest debate with policymakers on the value of broadcasting, with an emphasis on the reliability of a TV station signal that can never be replicated by cell phone carriers.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Polling of this type usually strikes us as relatively meaningless. The issue is very much inside baseball, and the average consumer is not walking around with working knowledge of the issues involved. And it offers a false choice: broadcast or fast internet. Broadcasters would point out that we can have both, and that broadcasters may well be a major part of the delivery system that helps solve the allegedly-coming spectrum crunch. Bottom line: Since CEA/Zogby basically asked a trick question, the results can simply be tossed.