The National Association of Broadcasters says it will launch its DTV Education PSA campaign this week, in both English and Spanish.
"This week, NAB will be rolling out the first of its Public Service Announcements along with video and audio elements and public service tools," NAB told the FCC in comments on the commission's proposed DTV education mandates.
Broadcasters had initially suggested their campaign might not start until sometime in 2008, then moved that back to December.
NAB had told B&C that it would launch the campaign by the end of this month, news that followed on the heels of the cable industry's announcement of its campaign launch.
But NAB, as well as the cable industry, said government-mandated education campaign benchmarks were unnecessary..
Broadcasters said they plan to voluntarily keep the FCC updated on its education initiative, which is intended to make sure viewers know about the February 2009 date for dropping analog broadcasts and the availability of a $40 dollar subsidy for up to two DTV-to-analog converter boxes per household. They also said they would work with the commission to help establish metrics for gauging the success of that campaign.
Regular reporting requirements were among the FCC's suggested mandates.
But broadcasters say they are concerned that "a regulatory regime without appropriate flexibility is unlikely to garner the information that will truly asses the effectiveness of the industry’s DTV consumer education initiative."
"We urge the Commission to refrain from imposing specific on-air education requirements," said NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television in joint comments. "Not only are they constitutionally suspect, but they could inadvertently impede the success of the campaign."
The cable industry agrees that the commission does not need to mandate DTV education benchmarks.
The commission proposed a variety of requirements for the broadcast and cable industries, including a mandatory number of public service announcements, on-screen crawls, cable bill stuffers and reporting requirements to keep the commission apprised of the progress of their campaigns.
In its comments, NCTA said it shared the FCC's goal of widespread communication of the transition to digital television, pointed out it had already launched a $200 million bilingual PSA effort, and said the commission didn't need to adopt consumer education mandates.