Campaign Looks to Juice NextGen TV Set Sales

NextGen TV
(Image credit: Pearl TV)

A group backed by major station owners is launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at familiarizing consumers with NextGen TV and selling a few of the new sets to early adopters during the holiday season.

Pearl TV, a consortium that includes Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps, Graham Media Group, Hearst Television, Meredith Local Media, Nexstar Media Group, Gray Television and Tegna, aims to run commercials in markets where multiple stations have converted to ATSC 3.0 and viewers can watch multiple networks via NextGen TV.

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The spots declare that “the future of television has arrived” and promises stunning video, movie theater quality sound and enhanced internet content. Stations in markets such as Portland, Oregon, are donating some of their promotional time to the campaign, which will also run online and via radio.

At this point, few consumers have heard of NextGen TV, though some are aware something new is coming, said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV.

Schelle said Pearl has done a lot of consumer research. “The messaging that’s in this campaign actually resonated well with consumers,” she said. “The concept of purchasing a television that can bring you better features and functions, that’s upgradable like this one, actually resonates well.”

This year, Samsung, LG and Sony have built NetGen TV into some of their high-end sets. Models with NextGen capability start at about $1,100. Next year, more manufacturers will be releasing NextGen models and, like all new technology, the price will start to come down.

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Pearl aims to reach 75% of consumers three or four times each to build awareness in markets where the service and some features are available from day one.

One feature that already seems popular has been branded as Voice Plus, which makes a show’s dialogue clearer. “Close to 30% of consumer respondents in surveys, as well as in the lab, when they actually heard it, they [said they] would buy it purely for that particular feature,” Schelle said. 

“TV sets are selling like hot right now, given COVID,” she said. 

NextGen features will be particularly attractive to early adopters, particularly if you’re a video-phile or audio-phile, she said. “If you’re look[ing] at a product side by side with another one, and this one has [a NextGen tuner] in it, and the other doesn’t, why wouldn’t you purchase it?”

The commercials were created for Pearl TV by Hothouse.

“We appreciate the support of broadcasters on this initial campaign,” said Brian Markwalter, senior VP, research & standards, Consumer Technology Association. 

“CTA established the NextGen TV mark to indicate a product’s conformance with NextGen TV testing standards and requirements. At CES 2020, companies unveiled a number of new products optimized for the NextGen TV standard,” Markwalter said. “Now, consumers can simply look for the NextGen TV logo as they shop for new TVs – an easy way to make sure their televisions can deliver all the benefits of NextGen TV.”

After the holiday campaign airs, Pearl TV will do an analysis to see how much awareness was achieved and to see how many TV set sales can be attributed to the ads.

Any adjustments will be made to the campaign before an April reset, when new sets from additional manufacturers will be available and more markets will be live with NextGen signals.

In addition to picture quality and sound, NextGen TV will also have an application in select markets that enhances the local news and information stations deliver.

“Th[is] shows the power of broadcasting in terms of our ability to promote the opportunities that we have,” Schelle said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.