With less than 200 days until the television we know and love goes all-digital, it is becoming clear that the conversion campaign has worked. Are there still older people who don't get it and are panicked about the changeover? Of course. But in the main, the Digital Transition Coalition has done a masterful job of educating America about the switch from analog to digital.
The keyword here is "education." As a recent NAB poll indicates, 90% of America knows about the coming digital reality. And consumers are buying digital boxes in order to make sure they're ready for the big day.
Contrast that with HD Radio. Awareness is nowhere near 90%. In fact, studies that have measured HD Radio familiarity are probably inflated because every shred of research that we've seen and/or conducted indicates that while many consumers say they know about HD Radio, their knowledge depth is mediocre. If you don't believe me, take your own survey the next time you visit a fast food restaurant, attend your kid's baseball game, or hang out at a barbeque this summer.
And this is the case after the incredible tonnage of commercials that have been run by HD Radio Alliance members. After all this time, do consumers really "get" HD Radio, and as importantly, are they motivated to buy one? And if they are, what happens when they get to Best Buy or Circuit City?
The conversion to digital television illustrates both the enormity of the task, as well as the scope of their success. This is not an easy process, and HD Radio has felt the fits and starts that go with unleashing a new technology. There's hardware, distribution, marketing, and last but not least, content. All of these key components have to be working in unison in order to have the desired impact. But maybe creating an "end date" for analog was the key to television reaching its daunting goal.
Disclosure: We conduct research on a project basis for iBiquity.