Broadcasters Challenge Nielsen Digital 'Preparedness' Counts

Nielsen says some 5% of U.S. homes are still unprepared for the digital transition. Getting all homes prepared for the switch would seem to be impossible by the new date--June 12--despite years of warnings. The government now has some four months to whittle the 5% number down further.

In fairness, the figure has been steadily dropping--from 6.8% unprepared in late December, to 5.7% in January, to the 5.1% (5.8 million homes) now. The Albuquerque-Santa Fe market, per Nielsen, is the least prepared--with 12%-plus not ready.

In a surprise move, the National Association of Broadcasters issued a statement late Thursday contesting the accuracy of Nielsen's estimate, claiming it overstates the degree of unpreparedness among U.S. TV viewers.

"Nielsen's measure of 'complete' unreadiness is inflated, because it does not account for people who have not installed their converter boxes yet or those who have coupons but have not yet redeemed them," NAB Vice President for Digital Television Transition Jonathan Collegio asserted, adding, "Currently more than 10 million coupons are active but not yet redeemed, and NAB research shows that nearly 40 percent of converter box owners have yet to hook up their boxes. These viewers may be technically unready in the strictest sense, but they are not completely unready. To get a truly accurate snapshot of consumer readiness, the specific actions taken by these households should be acknowledged."



A Nielsen spokesman countered the NAB assertion, noting, "Our readiness report does provide a snapshot of where we are right now, with whose ready and whose not."

One concern cited by the Obama administration and Congress was that older people and Hispanics would have the greatest risk of losing reception come the switchover. But Nielsen data shows that those over 55--although the government concern was for those much older--are more prepared than the general population, with the figure at 3.2%.

Among Hispanic homes, the figure is 8.5%--down from the 11.5% in December.

1 comment about "Broadcasters Challenge Nielsen Digital 'Preparedness' Counts".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, February 6, 2009 at 8:50 a.m.

    Huh NAB? So do the people sit around and watch their decoder that is not installed ... or maybe stare at their coupon? A decoder that is still in its box or an unredeemed coupon = unprepared!

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