Blog | Advertisers
April 29, 2015

The HD Effect in Ad Distribution

Jeff Swanson, Senior Director

Statistics around HD and SD TV spot delivery reveal an interesting story and impact to agencies and advertisers. But first, let’s consider the data. At Comcast AdDelivery, the percentage of HD-only destinations has increased from 3% to 6% since the beginning of 2014. In the same timeframe, the percentage of SD-only destinations decreased from 15% to 8%. The remainder, at approximately 85%, is comprised of hybrid sites that accept and air both HD and SD spots.

In addition, the growth in HD spot uploads, grew almost 140% from 2013 to 2014. When coupled with the evidence that HD spots outperform SD spots in audience retention by about 18%*, it becomes plausible that HD sites and HD spots will soon dominate as the industry standard.

There is clearly a trend towards HD advertising, but the delivery landscape still has one foot planted in SD workflows and delivery. Herein lies the problem; how to coordinate your spot to satisfy as many destination requirements as possible. Advertisers and agencies are left with a few choices. You can produce HD-only spots and distribute to HD-only and hybrid sites, or conversely, produce SD-only spots and distribute to SD-only and hybrid sites. The latter is a less-than-optimal solution, given the apparent trend towards HD advertising. Another common option, albeit the most costly, is to produce and deliver HD and SD spots.

While time, cost, reach, and quality are of primary concern in the advertising industry, one or more may suffer from inefficiencies with the aforementioned production options. HD- or SD-only limits your reach, but SD also has the additional issue of inferior quality compared to HD. Providing both formats adds time and cost to your production, as well as file management inefficiencies. But there is another option that can save time, the hassle of coordinating multiple resources, and ultimately money with your spot delivery.

Some advertising distribution platforms are capable of automatically down-converting your HD spot to SD when the spot needs to be delivered to SD-only destinations. This additional service, which can typically be enabled in your account or through your account manager, simplifies the ad distribution process using an auto convert feature that seamlessly prepares and delivers your spot in the format (or formats) required by receive sites. Secondary to this benefit is that only one mezzanine file is necessary, which cuts production time and costs. Finally, knowing that you can provide HD and SD spots on-the-fly from your delivery service simplifies the media buying and order entry process.