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.