[opendtv] Re: NTSC Cutoff Date

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 12:10:44 +0100

You talk to broadcasters, yeah, right.  Let me put it to you plainly.  The
largest market in the U.S. with the highest degree of cable penetration --
for more than 25 years -- has been San Diego, CA.  Period.

In this market, more than 15% of broadcast viewership -- by Nielsen
numbers -- is direct via off-the air reception, even though about 9% of the
TV homes lack cable or satellite.  Of course, San Diego has extensive out of
market viewership, since Tijuana is just across the border and technically
not the same viewership market, although much buying in San Diego comes from
sur de linea/frontera.

So, I'm either lying about San Diego's cable penetration, or you're lying
about either talking to broadcasters or, they are in VERY small markets.
Speaking of less desirable viewers.

It's fair to say that OTA viewers are less desirable economically than cable
viewers, but that analysis does not go far enough.  The HU broadcast
stations in cable households at any time of the day hovers around 50% of the
viewership of broadcast stations in broadcast only homes.  Also, as ANY
in virtually EVERY MARKET, people in broadcast homes watch 25% or more TV
than those in cable homes.  And, they don't watch a second of cable.

And, what broadcasters tell you about desirability of the viewers is not
borne out by what it advertised on TV and cable.  The old "spot TV" market
where package goods (Kaopectate, etc) supported local TV is gone; those
advertisers have gone to national cable spots on obscure, female-oriented
networks.  While there is significant advertising of large capital goods
(like cars) on local and national cable, network and TV dominates this

I could go on -- it looks like I will be shortly starting work on a
"feasibility study" for a "performance-based" advertiser interested in
developing something quite new in that field -- but I can be continually
amazed by the lack of understanding of TV and advertising.

John Willkie, the jw that watches TV content and commercials in the same

-----Original Message-----
From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Bob Miller
Sent: Thursday, July 15, 2004 6:33 PM
To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [opendtv] Re: NTSC Cutoff Date

GerryK wrote:

>Here are two more perspectives on the same question about
>shutting of analog NTSC transmitters -
>1 - public safety concerns might be raised -
>in places like Iowa and Nebraska, the rural farming communities
>rely on their analog NTSC broadcasts to provide
>long-term, continuing coverage of approach storms
>I was visiting there in June and the Omaha TV stations
>covered a tornado cell's passage for six hours, uninterrupted,
>showing the storm's progress zip code by zip code.
>The farmer's wife monitored the broadcasts, and contacted her
>husband via cell phone when the storm front started crossing the
>Missouri river into southern Iowa, and he headed the tractor in
>to the barn, and we took shelter in the storm cellar under their
>103-year-old farm house.
>If you turn off NTSC, some folks may get hurt.
>Second perspective -
>a broadcast engineer friend of mine recently took over
>the transmitter duties at his PBS station,
>because the former, full-time transmitter engineer retired.
>He asked for an increase in salary because of the new
>responsibilities. He has to manage all of the studio equipment
>and operations, and be on call for transmitter outages.
>They are installing a new, all-solid-state transmitter and have been told
>that it's so reliable there is no need for a transmitter engineer.
>The station manager told my friend that
>the transmitter wasn't that important to the station anymore,
>becuase 85% of their viewers were watching on cable.
>So next time his transmitter goes off the air during a lightning
>storm, my friend plans to echo back to the station manager
>that the transmitter isn't that important.
>he'll probably get fired, but, hey
>if station management doesn't believe the transmitter
>is that important, maybe it isn't.
>Gerry Kaufhold in Arizona
You are saying that the ATSC digital signal can't be relied upon?

Also there is another Public Safety concern. Four channels in 700 MHz
have been reserved for Public Safety and can't be used till the
transition is over. State Troupers and others have witnessed before
Congress not that people MIGHT get hurt but that people ARE being hurt
because they STILL do not have access to these channels promised long ago.

Publicly broadcasters show concern for OTA and say that it is an
important part of their customer base. In some cases it is but as your
example shows in private they are far less interested in the
demographics. Broadcasters have told me that no more than 5% of their
customers are OTA and that they represent the poorest demographic group
and the least interesting to advertisers.

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