WASHINGTON -- The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing today regarding the digital television transition. Following is a transcript of the prepared oral testimony delivered by NAB President and CEO David K. Rehr.
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Good afternoon Chairman Inouye, Vice-Chairman Stevens, and members of the Committee. My name is David Rehr and I am President and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, a trade association that represents over 8,300 free, over-the-air radio and television stations and networks.
I would like to thank you for holding this hearing today.
In 489 days, American broadcasters and TV viewers will complete the most significant advancement of television technology since the advent of color television. And in return, TV viewers will receive the crystal clear pictures and phenomenal sound of wireless television.
I would like to make four points today with regard to broadcasters' commitment to an effective transition.
One, on Monday, October 15, 2007, NAB, along with Starcom MediaVest Group, the largest media services organization in the country, unveiled the largest volunteer effort in television history to educate viewers on the switch. This $697 million dollar consumer campaign will consist of: "DTV Action" spots, crawls, 30-minute educational programs, a 100-day countdown clock to the February 2009 deadline, the DTV road show "Trekkers" that will visit over 600 locations nationwide; a DTV speakers bureau that will book over 8,000 events at senior centers, Kiwanis clubs, and church and community centers. We will have banner ads on station Web sites, earned media through newspaper coverage, as well as news tickers.
The $697 million valuation does not include our work with our network and syndication partners to include DTV messages in story lines of popular television shows.
It does not include radio marketing, although we expect radio stations will be part of this effort. It does not include the expected use of outdoor advertising or countless news stories on morning and evening newscasts.
Already, every broadcast network is participating in this campaign, along with 95 broadcasting companies representing 939 television stations nationwide. We expect more to join as we move forward.
The combined elements of this multi-platform, multi-faceted marketing campaign will reach nearly all television viewers and will generate 98 billion impressions. In the current multi-media environment, impressions are the currency of an effective marketing campaign.
Two, it is important to note that Monday's announcement builds on earlier work. NAB has already produced and distributed DTV action spots in English and Spanish, in HD and standard definition and with closed captioning. These action spots went to every television station across the country. We have a full time staff dedicated solely on the DTV transition. We have conducted a myriad of surveys, focus groups, sought international research of other countries that have or are in the midst of a similar transition. We have a bilingual Web site -- DTVAnswers.com. Our industry and government coalition has nearly 180 diverse groups and organizations. NAB has provided tool-kits to every member of Congress, and we held congressional staff briefings on how members can educate their constituents.
Third, I would encourage members of this committee to not jeopardize the success of the digital transition by opening up the television broadcast spectrum to personal and portable unlicensed devices that FCC testing has found to cause harmful interference. Allowing these devices into the TV band will be detrimental to the DTV transition and has the potential to render it a failure.
Four, America's broadcasters believe that we need a vibrant, private-public partnership to ensure this transition is as seamless as possible for television viewers. What we need and what you on the Committee have provided is a sense of urgency. We all need to be working toward a shared goal with purpose and speed. And we at NAB are committed to that.
I want to applaud Chairman Inouye for including a DTV link on the Committee Web site, Vice Chairman Stevens for including a similar link on his Senate Web site, and for all of the Committee members who have taken steps to educate your state. Your constituents are our viewers, and we need to continue to work together to make this transition a success.
19.6 million Households rely on wireless TV. 69 million TVs will be impacted. And we want to continue to provide Americas TV viewers the outstanding broadcast content they expect.
Thank you and I look forward to answering any questions you may have.
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The National Association of Broadcasters is a trade association that advocates on behalf of more than 8,300 free, local radio and television stations and also broadcast networks before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and the Courts. Information about NAB can be found at www.nab.org.