January 11, 2009

CONLAMIC: How Will Hispanics Fare in Television Digital Switch?

WASHINGTON, DC –The National Coalition of Latino Clergy & Christian Leaders (CONLAMIC) sees it as vital to inform Latino’s nationwide about preparing for the upcoming switch from analog to digital television transmission. According to media research provider, Nielsen Company, 17.3% of Hispanic households are not digital ready compared to 8.8% of Whites making Hispanics the largest segment of the population that is unprepared for the switch. Nielsen reports that 99% of American households have television and 93% of households own at least 1 television that can receive a digital signal. So we ask, how much of an impact will this have on Hispanics when the transfer becomes effective?

CONLAMIC leaders worked with and through state and local pastors associations to coordinate dissemination of Spanish-language materials to churches to ensure its members are well informed.

"Upon first hearing of the switch from analog to digital transmission of television signals, we immediately took action. Television is a dominate factor in the way Latino’s receive information – not only news and entertainment, but health and education that is critical to the well-being of families," said Rev. Miguel Rivera, President of CONLAMIC.

Spanish media also played an important role in spreading the word to its audiences about the need to prepare for the upcoming switch. There is a concern that as many as 4.5 million could lose their TV transmission when the transfer becomes effective. A combination of media and grassroots outreach have been critical to effectively inform Hispanic households about this issue.

“Continued education will ease this transition. We have encouraged pastors to share resource information, particularly for the older church members as they are likely to be the ones who will have the most trouble making the switch,” said Rev. Rivera.

The U.S. Hispanic population was been slower to catch on to new technologies, including the Internet, but now, according to a report by the Pew Hispanic Center, more than one in two Latino’s goes online and many of those who do not are connecting to the Internet via cell phone.

“The Latino community understands that technology plays a critical role in our daily lives. Although the upcoming change in television transmission may have an impact initially, Latino pastors and members of CONLAMIC are confident that our community will step up to support each other in making the transition to the digital age,” concluded Rev. Rivera.

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