Schelle: 3.0 Can Be Local TV’s Silver Bullet

The IP foundation of next-gen transmission standard ATSC 3.0 means the new standard will make it easier for broadcasters to distribute content across multiple devices, according to Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV. She says it will also allow targeted advertising, improved emergency warning capabilities and other advantages.

Once deployed, the ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcast standard could be a big boost to local TV news operations, which would get a range of benefits including better performance in online search.

“Right now if you search any breaking news story, you’re not getting [content from] the trusted news sources,” said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, a coalition of broadcast groups advocating for the new standard. “You’re getting some guy … who set up his news site a week ago — and he’s getting the revenue.

“That’s a bad experience for the consumer,” she said.

Speaking at TVNewsCheck’s annual NewsTECHForum in New York Tuesday morning, Schelle said that under the new standard, which is IP-based, broadcasters will be better equipped to embed their content with “the signals” that will boost it to the top of search results.

The new standard, which has yet to receive FCC approval, will also improve local broadcasters’ ability to produce and distribute content based on what particular segments of their audiences want, she said.

“Local news will become more important.”


For instance, ATSC 3.0 would allow broadcasters use repeaters to deliver hyperlocal content to particular communities within their markets — as well as sell that hyperlocal inventory to advertisers wanting to target those viewers, Schelle said. That’s a particularly attractive option for TV stations whose markets include more than one city.

The IP foundation of ATSC 3.0 also means the new standard will make it easier for broadcasters to distribute content across multiple devices, Schelle said. At the moment, doing that is considerably more difficult because linear feeds are not necessarily compatible with digital platforms, she said.

In addition, the new standard provides local broadcasters with the means to make news content more dynamic, she said. Interactive capabilities mean stations could include polls, allow viewers to follow particular stories and offer other features that make consuming content a more engaging experience.

Under ATSC 3.0, local broadcasters will also have a more robust role serving communities in disasters, Schelle said. The standard’s emergency alert system will allow stations to deliver interactive tools like evacuation maps.

Although ATSC 3.0 will take seven to 10 years to fully deploy once approved (Schelle said she expects the industry to file the plan with the FCC sometime in 2016, hopefully by spring), adopting it will be far easier on broadcasters than earlier transitions, most notably the analog-to-digital conversion, Schelle said.

Not only will broadcasters be able to use the same equipment to broadcast under both the current 1.0 standard and next-gen 3.0, but the cost of fully transitioning is relatively inexpensive as well, she said.

Implementing the new standard will require TV stations to upgrade their transmission systems, which will cost each roughly $250,000-$500,000 each.

Broadcasters have said they find that particularly palatable when you consider the moneymaking opportunities enabled by ATSC 3.0, particularly targeted advertising.

Studies show the broadcast industry could generate an additional $20 billion a year — effectively doubling its current annual revenue — if it fully deploys the ATSC 3.0 standard.

All of which, Schelle said, makes the new standard an integral component in the long-term viability of local TV, which consumers already have identified as their most trusted source of local news.

“If we are the trusted news source, and we provide the news consumers (i.e., millennials) want, than we need to make that happen,” she said. “I believe 3.0 is a way to do that.”

To listen to a recording of this panel session, click here.

Read all of our NewsTECHForum 2015 coverage here.

Comments (2)

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Kimberly Gari-Luff says:

December 16, 2015 at 1:46 am

I’m worried about the shrinking amount of spectrum. Which revenue enhancements will broadcasters be forced to give up if they’re compelled to cram divergent offerings (NBCHD + FoxHD + MeTV) into a single 6 MHz channel?

Julien Devereux says:

December 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

Just another boondoggle to funnel more money to wireless carriers. Does this mean everyone in the country will have to buy new TVs? Again?

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