WASHINGTON: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hired Ketchum for a $1.48 million account to educate consumers on what electronic devices they will need to watch TV when stations across the US begin transmitting exclusively in digital format (DTV) on February 17, 2009.
Although the transition affects many consumers, the FCC is targeting demographics most likely to not be cable subscribers, or those who get their broadcast signals over the air (OTA), according to FCC spokesman Clyde Ensslin. That target audience includes senior citizens, non-English speaking communities, the disabled, low-income consumers, and residents living in rural and tribal areas.
Beginning this month, the FCC started conducting a radio media tour, telephone briefings, and editorial board meetings as part of its outreach to media that are most influential with OTA consumers. Among them are local television, radio stations, and newspapers in areas with high numbers of Hispanics and senior citizens, Ensslin said.
The firm will also hold press events timed 100 and 30 days before the transition, conduct morning-show outreach, and host online chats as the deadline nears, he added.
Ketchum recommended that the FCC work with Kroger, Safeway, and Topco Associates grocery stores to distribute transition information on receipts, posters, and fliers prior to the switch, according to campaign plans provided by the FCC.
A Web site for the initiative, http://www.dtv.gov/, includes a countdown clock, down to the second, when the DTV transition will happen, as well as other educational features for consumers.
Ketchum assisted the FCC in creating print, TV, and radio PSAs, video segments, and a fact sheet for distribution to the general public, according to Ensslin.
The tech-centered stage of the outreach campaign began early this month and is scheduled to run through October. The FCC and Ketchum began communicating the basics of the DTV transition to consumers three months ago.
The FCC hired Ketchum in February for a 12-month period, with two four-month option periods.
Marv Gellman, Ketchum VP and director of media relations, referred calls seeking comment about the campaign to the FCC.