Dueling DTV census reports


The National Association of Broadcasters says that only 2.1% of US television households are unready for the DTV transition, representing 2.1M households. Nielsen says the numbers are 3.1% and 3.5M. No matter which number set you believe, America is inching toward the 6/12/09 deadline with between 96.9% and 97.9% ready to go.

NAB says that the 2.1M represent only 11% of all over-air only households.

Nielsen says 100K houses have become DTV-ready between 4/12/09 and 4/26/09, its latest reading date. 3.1% are unready. Whites are least unprepared (2.4%), followed by Asians (4.1%), Hispanics (5.0%) and African Americans (5.9%). Under 35s are at 5.7% and over 55s are in good shape at 1.7%.

Nielsen has defended its numbers from NAB questioning in the past, but NAB continued to question. It used SmithGeiger LLC for its own survey between 3/26/09 and 4/8/09.

“Our estimates represent a definitive look at preparedness among over-the-air households, proving that Americans are unequivocally getting the message and turning it into action,” said Seth Geiger, president of SmithGeiger LLC. “Unlike Nielsen, our assessment includes two classes of preparedness: those who are prepared now, and those who have demonstrated an understanding and commitment to being prepared by having applied for or received a converter box coupon.”

RBR/TVBR observation: We don’t see much point in quibbling over methodology and 1% variations in results. We’ll find out the real number of left-behinds soon enough, and we know it won’t be a horribly monstrous number. What is important to know is where the trouble spots are, and to focus very hard on getting the numbers in those places up to par.