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DTV bill may require $5 billion in promotional spots

Terrestrial television stations may have to air two 60-second DTV informational spots every day for a year under new legislation recently by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Some are estimating the requirement could cost broadcasters more than $5 billion.

The provision requires all TV stations to run the ads daily between 8 a.m. - 9 a.m. and again between 8 p.m.- 9 p.m. starting Jan. 1, 2008. The legislation also provides the required text intended to alert consumers that analog broadcasts are nearing extinction and provides advice on ways to ensure that their sets continue to work after the analog shutdown.

Some broadcast executives are concerned that the House legislation sets a dangerous precedent, one that could encourage Congress to force TV stations to promote other causes in the future.

However, NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton said his organization is not fighting the provision. He said the NAB is not opposed to educating the American public on the benefits of digital and high-definition television.

The text then refers viewers to the FCC for more information.

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