by Dave Zornow
What do you with someone who despite multiple warnings of the dire consequences, fails to take the first step to avert imminent disaster? When should your patient coaching turn to prodding and then finally “tough love?”
Former community organizer Barrack Obama knows. You move on — and hope they get the hint and finally follow. That’s the medicine he is prescribing for the three million households who will lose TV on June 12. That’s about 2.7 percent of all US TV Homes according to Nielsen.
“The number of households unprepared for digital television has been cut in half. Still, some people are not ready,” says Obama. Despite spending millions on public outreach to get viewers to turn switch to cable, satellite or purchase a converter, the president urges word of mouth as the last and best resort. “I encourage all Americans who are prepared to talk to their friends, family, and neighbors to make sure they get ready before it’s too late,” he says.
Who’s missing? It’s no longer the old people. The percent of persons 55+ who will be left in the dark on June 13 is only 1.5 percent — down from 5.2 percent in December. Digitally unprepared African American’s are still the largest group — but their numbers have been cut in half, too (10.8 to 5.4 percent). The second largest group — inexplicably — are people under 35. Exactly the young and connected group you would expect to be in the know and on the job for getting digital TV.
All little background about minorities: they are more likely than the average adult to spend a disproportionate amount of their disposable income on cool electronic stuff. And, as a group, African Americans tend to be heavier TV viewers than average adults. Which means, as a group, they are more likely than most to have been exposed to the barrage of “switch before you are ditched” PSAs from broadcasters.
The only remaining conclusion here is that anyone who hasn’t stepped up to the plate by June 12 isn’t going to without experiencing a TV-less world. For the under 35 crowd, they might have an online connection. Or maybe they are stealing cable from a neighbor. Or maybe some have decided they don’t watch much TV and might be better off without it. Some might be suspicious of anything the government has to say and afraid to do anything.
If Nielsen’s numbers are right, June 13 will be the dawn for a TV-less day for close to three million households. Stay tuned to see how this turns out. Which is more than they will be able to do.
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