Extreme Reach Adds AFD Flagging

Extreme Reach has added an automated solution for adding Active Format Description (AFD) flags to its digital commercial distribution system that the company is billing as an industry first. The tool allows advertisers and agencies to comply with new broadcast mandates by seamlessly inserting AFD flags into HD commercials.

The move comes as some networks are considering using AFD codes to standardize their formatting and workflows. AFD is a standard set of code embedded in the broadcast video stream that can tell a consumer's TV or settop box how to display the video-whether a HD 16 by 9 ad should be displayed as 16 by 9 letter box in a standard definition feed or as a 4 by 3 center cut ad.

In announcing the solution, Extreme Reach noted that one as yet unnamed network has started requiring advertisers to use AFD encoding and that others may follow, a move that could add steps and delays to existing advertising traffic and production workflows. The new automated tool would allow advertisers to comply with the requirement by adding the flags automatically.

"Extreme Reach has addressed an industry-wide concern very quickly, with an innovative seamless solution," noted Myriam Leimback, senior VP and director of Broadcast Operations at the Team Detroit ad agency in the statement. "We can now automatically comply with network format specifications and apply AFD flags to our HD commercials with the click of a mouse."

The move could also make it easier for agencies to send HD commercials to broadcast stations and cable programmers. A recent Extreme Reach report found that only 30% of all the commercials delivered to broadcast and cable networks were sent out in high definition.