Although more than half the country has HD TV sets, only 17% of all TV commercials were in HD.
These first-quarter numbers were slightly improved over fourth-quarter 2010, when the HD commercials distributed were at 13% of all TV commercials, according to video management/distribution company Extreme Reach.
Some 53% of marketers say the problem is lack of acceptance of HD ads -- especially from local TV stations, which lag the national TV networks. Cost is another concern: 35% say production costs were a significant problem; with 41% saying distribution costs were a major reason.
The survey says 47% of local broadcast TV stations accept HD commercials; but there is a 71% acceptance level at TV networks. When including local cable in the mix, the numbers dive: with only 42% of all local TV accepting HD. Just looking at the top 20 markets, 89% of TV network-affiliated stations air HD commercials, with virtually all stations in those markets capable of accepting HD ads.
Some marketers say that although they produce HD commercials, they distribute in SD to save on the cost of producing in two different formats: SD (Standard Definition or HD (High Definition). The study says almost 40% of marketers have adopted HD -- the same number as in the fourth quarter.
Extreme Reach said the survey was of 160 advertising and marketing executives, evaluating data from 1300 TV outlets and 124,000 SD and HD commercials released in the first quarter of this year.