Trade Groups Bond Over Digital TV Transition

NEW YORK Four trade groups have launched a joint initiative to provide the advertising community with information relating to next February’s required switch to digital signals by the nation’s TV broadcasters.

The four group are the American Association of Advertising Agencies; the Association of National Advertisers; The Television Bureau of Advertising; and the National Association of Broadcasters.

They’ve christened the effort: “The DTV Transition: Keeping the Ad Community in the Loop.”

Broadcasters currently use both analog and digital signals. But on Feb. 17, 2009, all systems are required to cease analog broadcasts (the signals they’ve operated on historically) and switch over to exclusively digital transmissions.

Digital TV enables programs to be broadcast in high-definition formats and also offers capabilities such as interactive and addressable delivery of programs and ads.

From a consumer standpoint, the switch will impact a minority of households — homes that rely solely on over-the-air signals for TV reception and that do not have cable or satellite service or digital sets. Nielsen estimates that less than 10 percent of homes are “completely unready” for the transition. (The government has a coupon program in place to facilitate rebates for consumers who purchase analog-to-digital converters.)

The coalition of trade groups said today it would inform members of new developments related to the changeover via e-mail notifications, Webcasts, a speakers’ bureau, luncheons, one-on-one meetings and their own unique Web sites.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.