Message to TV Networks: Don’t fill sidebar pillars of ads with your logo or network promotions

October 29, 2010

By Bill Duggan

MediaPost's Dave Goetzl wrote a story recently on how TBS is promoting its Conan show using "pillars" that appear to the left and right sidebars of some ads on their HD feeds. 

The majority of spots on TBS during the recent baseball playoffs were produced in high-definition. When an ad is produced in standard definition, it doesn't fill the entire screen and leaves the sides black. So the pillars with network promos can only be used then. TBS inserted C-O-N-A-N in the pillar sidebars, while an ad aired between them.

According to the MediaPost article, for the most part, networks leave the pillars blank, although TBS and TNT have inserted their logos, as has ESPN; but NBC Universal, CBS, MTV Networks, the Fox cable channels, the Discovery networks and Rainbow's AMC leave the space untouched.

Let's hope that the use of the sidebar pillars by the networks — either with their logo or, worse yet, a network promotion — does not gain further traction. Plain and simple, it competes for the viewers' attention and devalues the effectiveness of the advertising.

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