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PBS Announces Plan for DTV Transition Consumer Awareness Campaign
Kevin O’Connor and Norm Abram of THIS OLD HOUSE® Will Help Viewers Prepare for DTV Transition


ARLINGTON, VA, February 25, 2008 - As America draws closer to the analog shutoff date of February 17, 2009, PBS will launch a consumer awareness campaign to help viewers navigate the conversion to digital television. Kicking off the initiative are two on-air spots, starring Kevin O’Connor and Norm Abram, host and master carpenter, respectively, of the Emmy Award-winning series THIS OLD HOUSE, that feature clear, uncomplicated information about the switchover. The segments will begin airing on local PBS stations in March 2008.

From March to October, PBS’ consumer awareness campaign will focus on raising awareness of the shut-off date and outline the basics of viewers’ options for making the conversion. Then, from October through the analog shutoff date in February 2009, PBS will provide detailed information about the specific steps viewers can take to prepare for the end of analog broadcasting.

Studies have shown that the majority of Americans need more information to prepare for the switch. Many citizens are still unaware that the changeover is taking place and confused about their options, especially for maintaining access to free television service.

The consumer awareness campaign was designed in response to existing research, as well as PBS focus groups, that indicated viewers want an impartial and trusted source of information about the DTV transition to help them understand all their options without pressure to choose one solution over another.

“For many years, the American public has called PBS and PBS stations the nation’s most trusted public institution,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “This fact, combined with PBS’ reach into 99 percent of the country’s television households and the ability of each member station to interact with people in their own communities, has led us to initiate this year-long effort. A successful transition is especially important for those who depend on free, over-the-air service as their sole source of television, which includes an estimated 21 million TV households in our nation. We are very pleased to have Norm and Kevin’s participation in this important project. Since they have been explaining how to get things done around the house for years, they are perfect for this initiative.”

The 30- and 60-second segments featuring O’Connor and Abram will discuss the switchover in plain, basic terms. The English- and Spanish-language on-air promos will air between programs that reach adult audiences throughout PBS’ schedule.

Complementing PBS’ national efforts, member stations across the country also are developing plans for community-based outreach, such as producing local spots, hosting converter box demonstrations and other events.

About PBS
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches nearly 73 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of digital learning content for pre-K-12 educators and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS’ premier kids’ TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (www.pbskids.org), continue to be parents’ and teachers’ most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at (www.pbs.org) one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

About This Old House Productions, Inc.
The Emmy Award-winning THIS OLD HOUSE is television’s premier home improvement series. The show that unlocked America’s passion for home is produced by This Old House Productions, Inc. for This Old House Ventures, Inc. and is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. Executive producer is Jeff Ruhe. Senior producer and director is David Vos, and producer is Deborah Hood. Founder is Russell Morash. Funding is provided by Andersen Windows, Inc., GMC, The Home Depot, and State Farm Insurance Companies. New episodes of THIS OLD HOUSE are broadcast exclusively on PBS (check your local listings). THIS OLD HOUSE is the No. 1 multi-media home enthusiast brand, offering trusted information and expert advice through award-winning television, a highly regarded magazine, an information-driven Web site, a comprehensive line of books, a DVD series and live events. This Old House Ventures, Inc. is a business of Time Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner.

Note: Photo and review copies of the spots on DVD are available upon request.

-PBS-


Press contacts
Jan McNamara
PBS
703-739-5028
jmcnamara@pbs.org

Dawn Newell
Senior Account Executive
This Old House
WGBH Boston
617-300-5344
dawn_newell@wgbh.org



www.pbs.org/pressroom





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