Ten Tips for Managing the Migration to Digital Television
African television stations struggling with the analog to digital television migration have a new resource to assist them: 10 Tips for Managing the Migration to Digital Television, a pamphlet authored by Meredith Beal.
French & English versions available here:
1. Raise public awareness about digital migration
It is not possible to over-communicate with your viewers in raising their awareness about the migration and what they need to do. Use every venue available to the station (on-air public service announcements, news stories, web stories, billboards, public transportation advertising, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, speaking tours, etc.). Get the word out to your viewers so that there are no surprises.
Make sure you communicate the benefits to the public – your viewers. Coordinate with regulatory authorities as they conduct their awareness campaigns. Often regulators conduct “road shows” where they bring equipment to demonstrate the superior quality of the viewing experience and ease of connecting set-top converter boxes. Having station personnel on hand to answer viewer questions is a great opportunity to connect with audiences and to market the station.
Get to know where the crowds are and tune in to the culture you are speaking to. Libraries, schools, churches and sporting events are great venues. Some stations have used event scoreboards with messages like, “Are you ready for digital?” Some stations that may not have sufficient human resources to facilitate a campaign instead engage a marketing or public relations firm to coordinate the station’s viewer awareness campaign. Clearly identify the three options viewers generally have to continue to receive television programming:
- Keep their current television set and obtain a set-top converter box.
- Buy a new television set that is digital ready.
- Subscribe to a pay TV service with a cable or satellite provider.
Sometimes because of the variety of advertising messages relayed by various stakeholders, consumers are confused and think that they must subscribe to a pay service. If you are a free-to-air broadcaster, make sure consumers know that their choice of buying a converter box or new television set is a one-time expense and that their television is still free.
2. Plan for a Dual Broadcasting Period
Simultaneous broadcasting in both analogue and digital for some time period is imperative. You need to ensure viewers maintain access to television programming while you’re testing the quality and coverage of the digital transmission. Do some “test” shut-offs of your signal. Nothing gets more people calling in for information than shutting off their signal.
Some countries have conducted a coordinated “soft test.” Stations in a particular market would coordinate with one another or in conjunction with a regulatory body to select a time when they would all shut down their analogue signals and replace them with a message that says, “If you’re seeing this message your television is not ready for the digital migration”