Magid Study Finds Lingering Misperceptions in Countdown to Digital

Nov 07, 2008, 17:25 ET from Frank N. Magid Associates

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- With only 100 days remaining before broadcasters shut down their analog television transmissions, new research from Frank N. Magid Associates finds that an unprecedented 96 percent of all consumers ages 21 and older now say they have heard something about the pending digital transition.

That increased awareness, however, does not mean everyone has taken the steps necessary to be prepared for the dawn of a new era in television.

Magid's online survey, fielded in September, reveals that 59 percent of all consumers say they have what they need to receive local broadcast television signals on February 17, 2009. This proportion drops to 40 percent among households at greatest risk . those who rely solely on over-the-air signals for their TV programming.

In many cases, this lack of preparedness has to do with the fact that these households simply haven't yet done what they know they need to do to get ready. Half of the over-the-air-only households say they have applied for the digital receiver coupons offered by the government. However, it's not clear whether they have received their coupons, purchased the receiver or connected it to their analog TV sets.

"It will be important for any further communication from the government -- or from cable operators, satellite companies and broadcasters -- to focus on taking those last steps to readiness," said Maryann Baldwin, Vice President, Magid Media Futures(TM) and the architect of the study. She notes that a fourth of those consumers with over-the-air-only TV sets say they remain likely to purchase a TV set with an integrated digital tuner, bypassing the need for an external device.

As the digital transition draws near, one misperception has actually become somewhat stronger. Three in ten (29%) consumers now believe that all television programming will be presented in high definition after the digital transition takes place. This errant expectation exists among cable and satellite subscribers as well as those who receive their TV signals over the air. In reality, while digital broadcasting makes over-the-air transmission of high-definition programming possible, many cable networks and broadcast day parts are not yet available in HD, and many programs are still not produced in HD.

"Many of those consumers who have purchased HDTV sets and made arrangements for HD programming will likely be disappointed on February 17," said Jill Rosengard Hill, Senior Vice President, Frank N. Magid Associates. "While these households will indeed continue to receive local broadcast signals via their cable, satellite or digital receivers, a significant amount of programming will still come to them in traditional standard definition."

The online survey includes 1,238 adults who are 21 years or older and is nationally representative in gender, age, race and geography. It was fielded September 14-26, 2008.

About Frank N. Magid Associates

Founded in 1957, Frank N. Magid Associates provides research-driven, strategic media counsel on the evolving consumer mindset for clients in 37 countries. The company helps businesses that are struggling to make sense of a constantly evolving marketplace connect with an increasingly elusive, splintered consumer who is seemingly hidden behind an expansive array of technologies. Magid not only provides businesses with an understanding of the attitudes, opinions and actions of today's technology-saturated consumers, but also offers research-driven strategic advice on how to successfully brand, advertise, market and design their products and services. For more information, please visit Magid on the Web at

SOURCE Frank N. Magid Associates