DTV left-behinds would number 13M


According to a report from ratings icon Nielsen Company, 13M US households would be without television service if the DTV transition took place today, and another 6M would see a secondary television sit go blank. The problem demographics are younger are less prepared than older citizens, and minority groups are also less prepared.

Nielsen relied on the same techniques it uses to generate program ratings. Among its finding: 10.1% of all US homes would be cut off from television it the government pulled the analog plug immediately; and 16.8% of all households would lose programming on at least one analog television set. New York is pretty much ready to go, with only 3.5% of its households in the unready group; on the other hand, Portland OR is sitting on a mass of unreadies standing at over twice the national rate, with 22.4% standing to lose service. It says White households fall slightly below the national unreadiness average at 8.8%. Three minorities in the study are above the average with Hispanics significantly so at 17.3%.

TVBR/RBR observation: With a year to go, 10% doesn’t sound all that bad to us. And we’re glad that different research groups are producing independent studies on this. Entities engaged in the outreach effort are aware of the at-risk demographics, and the Nielsen study could be very helpful in helping to direct resources and recruit outreach groups that may be of particular assistance. The simple fact is that television will be one of the most effective tools in reaching at-risk television viewers. Since the at-risk television viewers are, by obvious definition, television viewers, the likelihood that they will eventually see and understand information provided about the transition are very high.