NEW YORK, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network (HITN) and DISH Network announced their first field trial of a new public information campaign designed to educate Latino consumers about their choices for television service when the national digital transition occurs on February 17, 2009. The field trial will take place at community based organizations in New York and Puerto Rico using HITN’s CBO Connect platform on Wednesday, September 17th at 9:00 a.m. (ET).
On February 17th, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting. While the digital transition is heralded for the improvements in service quality and the range of new services it will bring to consumers, there is considerable confusion in markets across the Nation as to the best and most affordable solutions consumers have for continuing their access to television services once the switch to digital services is made.
National surveys show that the American consumers who are least aware of the transition and most at-risk of losing their access to television on February 17th are linguistic and racial minorities, low income families, and seniors. Latino consumers in particular lack knowledge of their choices, facing not only the loss of conventional television services but also loss of access to critical information in the event of catastrophic events.
As the Nation’s premier educational and cultural network dedicated to serving the needs of Latino consumers, HITN is committed, as a matter of mission, to consumer education that will help Latinos make sense of the transition and take appropriate action to protect their right of access to TV.
The Latino Digital Transition field test scheduled for Wednesday, September 17th will demonstrate the effectiveness of a unique multi-modal public education strategy that aligns the broadcast strengths of satellite and Internet technologies with the active social engagement strengths of grassroots community organizations in HITN’s CBO Connect network in order to engage, train, and help Latino consumers to take informed action on their transition to digital television.
Based on the results of the field test, HITN is considering expanding the Latino Digital Transition campaign to community-based organizations (CBOs) in major markets across the Nation in order to help CBO’s prepare local communities for the Transition.
Jose Luis Rodriguez, President and CEO of HITN said that “The Latino Digital Transition campaign is designed to educate Hispanic consumers about their best and most affordable choices in the coming digital transition. It will greatly expand consumer awareness of the transition, and ensure that Latinos retain their access to television services and are not lost in the transition. We believe we must pull together as a community to do all that we can not only to get the word out about the transition, but to help consumers, face-to-face, with the steps they need to take to manage this change successfully. This is important as a civil right, certainly, though it is vitally important that we prevent the disenfranchisement of many Americans in ways that put them at risk in the face of catastrophic events.”
National satellite provider DISH Network will partner with HITN in Wednesday’s field test. HITN and Dish Network will provide experts in the transition, interactive presentations, training, and informational materials. HITN and DISH will also help participating consumers to obtain the government coupons being issued to offset the cost of the converter boxes that will enable digital broadcast to be viewed on older, analog television sets.
Rodriguez praised DISH Network for its willingness to devote time and resources to the effort, saying “The HITN and DISH Network partnership in these field trials to educate Latino consumers about the Digital Transition clearly reflects an understanding of the growing market force of the Nation’s Latino audience. We are pleased to have their support for this important effort to ensure that Latinos are not left behind when we make the transition to digital services early next year.”
About HITN: The Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc. (HITN) was established in 1983 as a private non-profit organization to create a network of non-commercial telecommunications facilities to advance the educational, social, cultural, and economic aspirations of Hispanics. Today HITN-TV remains the first and only media conduit offering educational, enriching and empowering content to our nation’s fastest growing ethnic group. For more information please visit: www.hitn.org