Despite HD Content, Advertisers Slow To Embrace HD Ads

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TV content owners may be moving quickly on HD programming; TV advertisers for HD commercials are another story.

A new study says advertisers using HD in their commercials were just 13% of all the TV creative that ran in the fourth quarter, with 87% of TV advertising running in SD, standard definition. This was relatively flat from preceding periods. The study was produced by Boston-based digital video ad network company Extreme Reach.

Two of the biggest ad growth categories for HD "adoption" -- airing as least one HD ad on at least one HD TV outlet -- have been automotive marketers, now climbing to 29% rate, and retailers. Automotive was at a 20% rate in the third quarter of 2010. Retailers are now at 34% in the fourth quarter, from a 29% in the previous period.

Overall, looking at all advertisers, the adoption rate -- airing at least one HD commercial on at least one HD network -- has remained steady at 40%.

The content side of the business is ahead of advertisers, waiting to accept far more HD commercials. Eighty-three percent of broadcast programming can take advertising content in HD; cable networks are at a 59% level. Extreme Reach says now more than one-third of all local broadcasters can do HD messaging, at 34%, with local cable at 58%.

But when looking at the actual receiving of HD ads, that data shows there is room to grow. Broadcast networks are getting 32% of TV ads in HD; cable is at a 27% receiving rate; local broadcast, 7%; and local cable, 5%.

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3 comments about "Despite HD Content, Advertisers Slow To Embrace HD Ads".
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , January 21, 2011 at 9:03 a.m.

    Commercials in standard definition stand out like the cliche sore thumb. After my TV set hesitates and then contorts the screen into a fuzzy and less-defined picture, my first thought is, gee, I wonder how else the makers of that product or service cuts corners?

  2. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct , January 21, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.

    HD has made advertising production much more difficult.

    First, we have to remember that (guessing) 60% of the TV's where it will be seen are SD. So, we have to produce for a dual format - it must look great in SD and in HD. (Easy to say, complexity to do.) Merely editing HD took systems that were becoming "render wait" free and have added 20 to 40 minute renders back into our production days.

    Then, we have to deal with trafficking tapes. HD dubs and distribution are massively expensive compared with SD. The number of formats grew exponentially as each station/network has different requirements, different equipment, etc.

    None of this deals with the nasty problems of creating HD for non-broadcast application. There are thousands of compression and format options bringing chaos to DVD creation.

    AND, as a communication issue, too many products thrived in the 4:3 window. We often find HD doesn't bring better communication - just a much larger window to dress for the shots.

    And yet, it is gorgeous when it works. Advertisers SHOULD be doing more HD. But let's not minimize the degree to which HD has introduced chaos to the advertising world - without giving us anything any more effective - just more pixels.

  3. Mickey Lonchar from Quisenberry , January 21, 2011 at 2:39 p.m.

    The biggest impediment to commercial messages being broadcast in HD has been the broadcasters. It is somewhat unbelievable that, in any given market, you will find some stations that will run HD spots as produced, others that accept HD spots, but will "center cut" them and others that require SD versions. A traffic nightmare. Isn't it in the best interests of broadcasters to make their clients' commercials look as good and appealing as possible?

    Agencies and advertisers are on board with HD. It's time for broadcasters to stop cutting corners and get with the program.

    http://www.quisenblog.com