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Advertisers, Agencies Back Delaying Transition Date

Advertisers and agencies have joined broadcasters in supporting a delay of the DTV transition date from Feb. 17 to June 12.

In a joint statement, the Association of National Advertisers, American Association of Advertising Agencies, and the Amercan Advertising Federation, cited the numver of households unready for the switch as well as the change for the government to resolve "some unresolved issues that rose throughout the transition process."

Citing Nielsen statistics that 17 million TV households are either completely or paritally unready for the switch, the groups said that, "This sudden loss of the ability to receive television transmission would cut off millions of Americans from important media access including the commercial messages of our members. This delay should allow for a smooth digital transition in June in which few or no households lose television transmission."

They also say the government needs the time to fix problems with the DTV-to-analog converter box program, which would allow more unready households to get ready.

The Senate has passed a bill to move the date. The House is expected to follow suit, perhaps as early as Tuesday afternoon. At press time, the House was debating the $825 billion stimulus package, which also includes $650 million to fund the converter box coupon program.
The National Association of Broadcasters Tuesday also weighed in on support of moving the date.