As if it weren’t bad enough…

…now broadcasters will have to cough up airtime in what will likely be a better revenue year (2008) to “educate” viewers about the end of analog TV. Shelly Palmer poses the doomsday scenario that we’ve been trumpetng here for the last couple of years:

If you like disaster scenarios, I have one for you. 2009 is not an election year and it is not an Olympic year. The end of analog TV is scheduled to occur in the middle of February Sweeps (the first television ratings book of the year). With millions of antenna-only households gone missing, what will the May Sweeps look like? No political cash, no Olympic cash and, due to missing antenna-only viewers, a measurable ratings decline in households that over-index to the four major networks. Ahhh — your tax dollars at work.

Shelly’s right, and this is the thought that causes local television company executives to lose sleep at night. Everybody’s running to the Web for salvation, but the question is will broadcasters have the courage to spend money while they have it to prepare for the time when they don’t?


  1. There’s absolutely no chance that Feb, 2009 digital TV deadline sticks. It’ll get pushed back. I’d bet on it.

  2. I’ve heard that, too, Bill, and from some people who really might know. However, there is considerable lobbying pressure to move forward with the analog auction, so while I am somewhat skeptical of the deadline, I’m not as convinced as you are that it’ll be pushed back much, if at all.

  3. One other consideration…if that scenario takes place: 4th quarter buys are based on May ratings adjusted to November HUTs. Ouch!

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