ANA Blasts Network Pillar Practice As Ad Invasion

Some of the biggest TV advertisers have called on television networks to immediately stop their practice of superimposing logos and promos around the borders of the television screen. In a white paper just released by the Association of National Advertisers' influential Television & Video Committee, the trade group said the practice of "filling sidebar pillars with network logos and promotions" -- often on the right- or left-hand side of the screen while some TV commercials air -- violates time and space that belongs to the advertiser.

The practice -- which typically occurs in digital TV transmissions, especially high-def feeds that create the pillar-like borders surrounding TV screens -- has been growing as networks seek to find new ways to brand their own channels and to promote their programming in an increasingly non-linear viewing environment.

"Plain and simple, the sidebar real estate of an ad belongs to the advertiser unless otherwise agreed or unless the concurrent program content is part of the regular network programming format (e.g., sports/stock tickers)," the ANA committee stated. "Any network logo or promotion competes for the viewers' attention and therefore reduces the effectiveness and devalues the investment of the advertising."

The white paper singles out a recent Turner Broadcasting promo for TBS "Conan" show as a "noteworthy example." The left- and right-hand sides of the screen surrounding an advertiser's commercial feature the name "Conan" running vertically down the screen.

"The sidebar pillar real estate belongs to the advertiser and should either be left alone (and black) or enhanced only with the input and permission of an advertiser," the ANA committee concluded.

For a full copy of the committee's paper, go to: www.ana.net/sidebarpillars.

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2 comments about "ANA Blasts Network Pillar Practice As Ad Invasion".
  1. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace , December 13, 2010 at 8:41 a.m.

    Looks like they like these intrusions as much as us Viewers do whenever we are watching THE PROGRAMMING. Is it any wonder TV is in the shape it's in?

  2. John Harpur from Yellow Submarine , December 13, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.

    The implied agreement in purchasing TV is the advertiser gets the full screen. Another issue that is more pervasive this time of year is local TV stations coopting commercial screens with school closings. Some use a shrink screen making graphics in commercials hard to read. Others take up space at the bottoms of a full screen but often covering copy in supers that an advertiser paid to have communicated. It all competes for the viewer's attention.

    Commercial avoidance in TV in all its forms is becoming a serious concern for TV advertisers. The impudence of shrink screens and crawls adds insult to injury.
    Families no longer need school closing information from their TV stations. They certainly don't need them well past the planned time for leaving home. And stations in our market will do this for just a few school closings. Anything to create some unneeded sense of urgency to their otherwise boring newscasts.

    Now, what about how station weather reports negatively affect entertainment and retail business with misleading weather icons and forecasts . . .