The Economics of the Digital Television Transition

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Economics of the Digital TV Transition

December 12, 2008
Columbia University
3022 Broadway (enter at 116th St)
Uris Hall, Room 326

The United States' analog television broadcasting will virtually cease on February 17, 2009. Without access to cable television, satellite TV, or a digital television set the public will not be able to receive the television signal to which it is accustomed.

Consumers with older TV sets must obtain a digital converter box or purchase a digital television to continue receiving a broadcast signal. The U.S. government is providing a subsidy to reduce the cost of these converter boxes.

  • What are the business, regulatory, and policy issues related to one of the greatest changes in video since the introduction of television?
  • Will the digital signal have the reach of the current over-the-air analog signal?
  • What are the effects on consumers? How will rural consumers be affected?
  • What are the business implications for broadband providers?
  • How will the nature of commercial TV be changed, in terms of business models and content models?
  • What are the implications for media firms? For advertisers?
  • What are the international coordination and standards issues?


9:45am - Welcome & Overview

Eli Noam, Director, CITI, Professor of Finance and Economics, Columbia Business School | Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

10:00am - Introduction 

Introduction & Overview - Paul Rappoport, Temple University | Audio (MP3)

What are the issues? - Darcy Gerbarg, CineGrid, Inc.; CITI | Audio (MP3)

10:30am - Who Will Not Receive Over-the-Air Service?

Transmission Solutions for the Upcoming Transition to Digital Broadcast - Saul Shapiro, President, Metropolitan TV Association | Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

Digital Cliff Effects and Mapping of Troubled Reception Areas - Stu Lipoff, Independent Consultant | Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

What We Have Learned from the DTV Trial in Wilmington, NC - Alan Miles, Vice President, Equity Research, Barclays Capital - Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

Easing the pain: The Coupon Program - Milton Brown, Deputy Chief Counsel, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) | Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

Moderator:  Robert Atkinson, Director of Policy Research, CITI

12:00pm - 1:00pm: Lunch - Hepburn Lounge

1:00pm - 1:45pm: Keynote

Monica Desai, Chief, Media Bureau, Federal Communications Commission | Audio (MP3)

1:45pm - Opportunity in Chaos?

What about the viewers: Are consumers prepared? - John Carey, Professor, Communications and Media Management, Fordham University | Audio (MP3)

The Coupon Program - Scott Wallsten, Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow, Technology Policy Institute | Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

DTV Transition on Consumers and Consumer Choice - Barry E. Goodstadt, Independent Consultant | Presentation (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

Moderator:  David Waterman, Indiana University

3:05pm - Break

3:25pm - Impact of DTV Transition on the Business of Delivering Entertainment

The Economics of Digital Transition on the Entertainment Industry - David Waterman, Indiana University | Audio (MP3)

What Disruptions Should We Anticipate in February, 2009? - David D. Oxenford, Partner, Davis White Tremaine, LLP, Washington, D.C. Office | Audio (MP3)

Regulating the Transition from Analog to Digital Television Broadcasting in North America: A Comparison of the Canadian, US, and Mexican Experiences - Joshua Block, New York Law School - Paper (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

Policy Issues with the Digital Transition - Willard D. Rowland, President and CEO, KBDI-Channel 12, Denver, Colorado | Summary (PDF) | Audio (MP3)

Moderator: James Alleman, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado

4:45pm - Summary Comments

James Alleman, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado | Audio (MP3)

5:00pm - Reception - Calder Lounge

Conference Organized by James Alleman, Darcy Gerbarg