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Why Aren’t There More Ads In HDTV?

With High-Definition TVs in 20 million U.S. homes, many high-def owners wonder why there are not more HD channels.

But many industry officials wonder why more TV commercials are not produced in high-def.

“For us (to) use standard definition on HD networks-it’s disingenuous.” Chris Fawcett, director-corporate marketing at Sony Electronics, tells Advertising Age, which published a feature on the dearth of high-def ads in this week’s edition.

Ad Age reports that the vast majority of TV commercials are still produced in standard definition.

Reasons cited:

  1. Extra cost in producing commercials in HDTV; perhaps as much as 10 to 15 percent more. (Although the publication notes that the costs are dropping.)
  2. Broadcasters have to purchase HD decks (they need multiple decks and each costs $70,000 to $80,000) and other equipment. They must also change internal processes and systems, such as tracking, to accommodate HD advertising.
  3. Audience strength is misleading.

“Twenty million people may have bought sets, but really only 10 million are watching HD because they haven’t signed up for service,” Phillip Swann, president of (Yes, yours truly) tells Ad Age. “So if I’m an advertiser, what’s my payback? It’s just not enough yet. … Eventually this will all come to a head and reconcile itself.”

Swanni Sez:
As I told Ad Age, many advertisers are waiting for more actual high-def viewers (not just high-def owners) before producing their ads in HD. However, the audience is growing fast. And those companies that produce ads in HD will get noticed.

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