National Association of Broadcasters


“Over a period of 19 months, awareness of the DTV transition rose from 31 percent to over 97 percent.“

The National Association of Broadcasters, the industry trade association for local television and radio stations across the country, was seeking to educate the public about the digital television transition (DTV).

Scheduled to take place on June 12, 2009, the “DTV switch” would change broadcast television from an analog-based signal to a digital signal, increasing both the number of channels available and the quality of the broadcast. At the same time, this switch would free up space on the broadcast “spectrum” to help improve the quality of other services such as mobile phone reception and GPS systems.

As a result, establishing universal awareness among the U.S. consumer audience with a special focus on those deemed to be disproportionately affected by the transition (minorities, seniors and those with disabilities) was required in order to ensure a smooth “switch.”

The Solution.
Due to the size and scope of the communication required to support the “switch,” Crosby~Volmer recommended creating a nationwide, community-based speakers bureau to implement local-level educational events around the country, along with a comprehensive web-based campaign and local broadcast public service announcements for both television and radio. In addition, a coalition of organizations ranging from broadcasters, cable television providers, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and trade associations was established to help perpetuate the message of the “switch” and communicate the details consumers needed to successfully transition onto the digital platform.

In addition to the nationwide campaign for all consumers, specially designed collateral materials, websites and public service announcements were produced in multiple languages to help ensure that minorities, seniors and those with disabilities were well informed.

The Results.
Over a period of 19 months, awareness of the DTV transition rose from 31 percent to over 97 percent. Collateral materials were translated into 60 languages, including braille, and Latino audience awareness levels went from 25 percent to 97 percent. A specially designed DTV website received, on average, over 225,000 visitors per month, and public service announcements received over one billion dollars’ worth of airtime from radio and television outlets.

Crosby~Volmer organized more than 8,000 community-based public education events around the country through the DTV speaker bureau, which included town hall-style events featuring local members of congress and broadcast personalities. The DTV coalition consisted of over 240 member organizations, and the U.S. House and Senate both established DTV caucuses to help ensure that any actions or changes needed at the federal level would take place efficiently and effectively.

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