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NCTA Launches DTV Info Campaign

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association is creating a $200 million campaign meant to provide information on the digital transition to millions of cable and non-cable viewers. The TV commercials, which will be in English and Spanish, are set to air this fall and run through the digital transition date, Feb. 17, 2009.

In a letter to the House and Senate Commerce Committees, and copied to all members of Congress, NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said there’s a three-part message in the ads:

  • The digital transition takes place in February 2009;
  • If you have a TV hooked up to cable, your provider will manage the transition for you;
  • If you have an analog TV receiving over-the-air signals only (regardless of whether you have other TVs hooked up to cable), you will have to take some action, about which you can learn more by visiting

Several key lawmakers and officials were quick to praise the initiative. “Cable operators are to be commended,” said House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.).

“This is exactly the cooperation needed to public,” said Carlos Gurierrez, the Commerce Secretary.

“We commend the cable industry today for doing the right thing,” said Joe Barton of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan, the top Republicans on the House Commerce Committee and the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet its telecom subcommittee, respectively.

In addition to the TV advertising, McSlarrow also said the NCTA has created informational Web site material, and made other commitments for cable companies to communicate with consumers about the digital transition.

Edward Markey (D-Mass), chairman of the House telecom subcommittee, praised the initiative and urged “other industry groups to similarly commence action on their own consumer education efforts as soon as possible.”

NAB meanwhile noted that cable’s apparent commitment to analog viewers was undercut by cable’s efforts to remove its must-carry requirements. NAB announced an education plan this summer and has said it will deliver PSAs to member stations this month.