DTV Transition Impacts Ad Production-RTO Online

"Television broadcasting is entering a whole new era, and as one of the leading voices in the industry, it is the Association of National Advertisers (ANA)'s job to offer counsel on how advertisers can best adapt to these changes," said Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA. "Advertisers need to understand the financial and creative implications and start thinking now about which format they will choose."

06-23-08
RTO Online - The rent to own industry's trade website

As television broadcasting moves to a digital-only format, Networks likely will accept commercials in only one format; some networks already have this requirement. Advertisers will have to choose to ship either a high-definition (HD) 16:9 or standard-definition (SD) 4:3 format. The choice of formats will have financial and creative implications for rent-to-own companies developing TV commercials.

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Growing Interest in High-Definition Television Means New Formatting Requirements for Advertising

According to Forrester Research, approximately 46 million U.S. households are expected to have high-definition (HD) televisions by the end of 2008, increasing to 55 million by year-end 2009.

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Some ANA members have reported to the association that the left and right sides of their HD commercials have been cropped off, in some instances, on 4:3 televisions. This is why advertisers producing in HD need to make sure that all essential information — including character action, logos, titles and legal disclaimers — resides in the center portion of the frame. This is called center-cut protection. By placing important information in the center part of the frame, you will ensure that nothing vital is lost when your HD commercials are viewed on SD sets.

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Apart from financial implications, other considerations exist with HD projects:

  • With more commercials being finished in HD and more consumers capable of viewing HDTV, HD is expanding. However, SD spots run on HD broadcasts may appear inferior.
  • Ad-ID, the web-based system that generates a unique identifying code for each advertising asset, has been upgraded to include a new high-definition code capability containing an "H" in the twelfth character.

Best practices:

  • Confirm with your media partners the specific requirements each has for commercial submissions.
  • Be sure to discuss center-cut protection with your agency early in the creative process. The need for center-cut protection will impact all aspects of production, from concepts and storyboards to camera framing, graphics, titles, and special effects.
  • Consider making an HD master the universal master from which other versions can be created. These may include an SD master, international versions, and materials for media on the Web, mobile, cinema, etc.
  • Budget accordingly when considering the HD format.

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