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DTV Transition May Affect Millions

2.8 Million Homes Unready for Transition to Digital TV as June 12 Deadline Approaches

In its final update before the June 12, 2009 deadline for converting all full-powered U.S. television stations to digital transmission, The Nielsen Company reported that 2.8 million American households, or 2.5% of the television market, are completely unready for the transition. Younger, African American and Hispanic homes are disproportionately unready, while the elderly are the most ready.

“Since February, when the U.S. government postponed the transition for three months, the number of households that are completely unready has been cut in half — from 5.8 million to 2.8 million homes,” said Sara Erichson, President Media Client Services, The Nielsen Company. “Given the importance that television plays in the day-to-day life of most people, we expect that the most of the remaining unready homes will take the necessary steps to get ready once the stations make the final switch to digital transmission. We will continue to follow this trend closely.”

Percentage of Completely Unready Homes as of Sunday, June 7, 2009

Percent of Homes Unready as of: Overall White African-American Hispanic Asian Under Age 35 Over Age 55
June 7, 2009 2.5 1.9 5.1 4.3 3.1 4.6 1.3
May 24, 2009 2.7 2.1 5.4 4.7 3.2 5 1.5
May 10, 2009 2.9 2.3 5.7 4.9 3.4 5.4 1.6
April 26, 2009 3.1 2.4 5.9 5 4.1 5.7 1.7
April 12, 2009 3.2 2.5 5.9 5.4 4.3 5.9 1.7
March 29, 2009 3.4 2.7 6.2 5.6 4.4 6.3 1.8
March 15, 2009 3.6 2.9 6.6 6.1 4.4 6.5 2
March 1, 2009 3.9 3.2 6.7 6.5 4.5 7.2 2.2
February 15, 2009 4.4 3.6 7.5 7.4 5.1 8.1 2.6
February 1, 2009 5.1 4.1 8.7 8.5 6.3 8.6 3.2

Readiness in Local Markets
Among the 56 local markets that Nielsen measures with electronic meters, the one that is least ready is Albuquerque-Santa Fe, with 7.6% of the households completely unready. Television homes in Providence-New Bedford, where area television stations previously made the transition to digital, are 100% ready. The markets with the most unready households tend to be in the Western United States, where cable penetration is lower. The most prepared markets are in the Eastern U.S.

# of Completely Unready Homes % of Completely Unready Homes
National Sample 2,805,250 2.45
ALBUQUERQUE-SANTA FE 52,235 7.58
DALLAS-FT. WORTH 145,414 5.84
SACRAMNTO-STKTON-MODESTO 64,238 4.59
SEATTLE-TACOMA 82,809 4.55
AUSTIN 29,978 4.49
LOS ANGELES 252,180 4.46
PHOENIX (PRESCOTT) 77,207 4.16
TULSA 21,923 4.14
GREENVLL-SPART-ASHEVLL-AND 32,949 3.84
HOUSTON 78,772 3.74
PORTLAND, OR 43,361 3.69
CLEVELAND-AKRON (CANTON) 55,965 3.67
MEMPHIS 23,919 3.55
SALT LAKE CITY 29,512 3.21
SAN ANTONIO 25,948 3.17
INDIANAPOLIS 34,787 3.12
SAN DIEGO 33,174 3.11
MIAMI-FT. LAUDERDALE 43,468 2.81
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL 45,859 2.65
DETROIT 50,101 2.60
LOUISVILLE 17,148 2.57
WASHINGTON, DC (HAGRSTWN) 59,665 2.57
DAYTON 12,143 2.51
WEST PALM BEACH-FT. PIERCE 18,862 2.42
SAN FRANCISCO-OAK-SAN JOSE 59,682 2.41
RICHMOND-PETERSBURG 12,986 2.36
KNOXVILLE 12,328 2.25
LAS VEGAS 16,171 2.22
BIRMINGHAM (ANN AND TUSC) 16,127 2.18
CHICAGO 76,144 2.18
CINCINNATI 19,685 2.15
COLUMBUS, OH 19,350 2.09
NORFOLK-PORTSMTH-NEWPT NWS 14,648 2.04
ST. LOUIS 24,871 1.99
BUFFALO 12,244 1.94
NEW ORLEANS 11,693 1.94
JACKSONVILLE 13,025 1.93
NASHVILLE 19,208 1.89
PHILADELPHIA 55,169 1.87
CHARLOTTE 20,324 1.81
KANSAS CITY 16,790 1.79
DENVER 25,454 1.67
TAMPA-ST. PETE (SARASOTA) 28,243 1.55
RALEIGH-DURHAM (FAYETVLLE) 16,210 1.50
ORLANDO-DAYTONA BCH-MELBRN 21,263 1.45
NEW YORK 96,640 1.30
MILWAUKEE 10,774 1.19
GREENSBORO-H.POINT-W.SALEM 7,947 1.16
BOSTON (MANCHESTER) 27,704 1.15
ATLANTA 25,831 1.09
FT. MYERS-NAPLES 4,993 0.98
HARTFORD & NEW HAVEN 9,947 0.98
PITTSBURGH 10,061 0.87
BALTIMORE 8,045 0.73
OKLAHOMA CITY 3,368 0.49
PROVIDENCE-NEW BEDFORD 0 0.00

Under government-mandated action, all full-powered television stations are required to switch to digital programming by June 12, 2009, which could leave viewers without a television signal unless they purchase digital television sets, connect to cable, satellite, and alternate delivery systems or purchase a converter box.

Nielsen is making these estimates available as a public service to the television industry, government policy-makers and local communities. This information is based on the same national and local television ratings samples that are used to generate national and local television ratings. To conduct the survey, Nielsen representatives observed and tabulated the actual televisions used in its samples. Because Nielsen has developed samples that reflect the total U.S. population including African American and Hispanic populations, these household characteristics in the samples can be projected to the whole country.

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About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA.

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