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PBS, NCTA Grab Some DTV-Transition-Education Spotlight

Noncommercial broadcasters and the cable industry Monday announced further digital-TV-education efforts on the eve of the National Association of Broadcasters' big unveiling of more details of its multipronged effort.

PBS and the Association for Public Television Stations announced what they called the "next phase" of their education campaign, which will include public-service announcements in daytime, primetime and weekends over a 16-month campaign -- analog broadcasts will be discontinued to all but a handful of viewers in February 2009 if the current, congressionally mandated transition date holds.

APTS president John Lawson said that will amount to some 3 billion "broadcast impressions." And even though it doesn't carry ads, Lawson put the value of the airtime and other resources devoted to the education campaign and PSAs at more than $50 million.

Meanwhile over at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, that group took the opportunity to grab a little of the spotlight from the NAB by announcing the production of two new, bilingual, PSAs (here and here) as part of its $200 million campaign.

Like the earlier campaign, the NCTA spot features a senior citizen saying that cable customers don't have to fret about the transition ("every TV that's hooked up to cable will still work just fine"), but ones with an analog set (a set circa 1950 is shown) will need information on the DTV-to-analog subsidy program.