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Study: HD Ads Double In Last Year

The number of HD ads airing on TV has increased dramatically in the last year, with the number of HD ads doubling in the last year and increasing by 50% since the start of 2011, according to a new report from digital ad distribution provider Extreme Reach.

Even with the huge increase, only 20% of the ads sent over the Extreme Reach network to broadcast networks, stations, cable channels and cable systems were in HD.

That low number stands in stark contrast to the fact that Nielsen is now estimating that over two thirds of all U.S. TV homes have an HD set.

The new report, which is based on 171,000 SD and HD commercial ad deliveries over the Extreme Reach network between April 1 and June 30, 2011, noted that many local broadcasters were still unable to accept HD ads, though some progress has been made.

At the end of the 2nd quarter of 2010, only 27% of all local TV stations were capable of accepting HD ads; by the end of June 2011, that proportion had grown to 44%.

Meanwhile, the number of local cable systems who have upgraded their infrastructure so they can accept HD ads increased from 52% to 63%, indicating that local broadcast TV still operates at a significant competitive disadvantage to local cable for advertisers who would like their spots seen in HD.

Overall, however, the amount of ads airing in HD on both local stations and local cable systems was about the same, with HD ads accounting for about 20% of all ads at the end of the second quarter.

The report also noted that a number of barriers to HD adoption, such as cost and complexity, are being reduced by more efficient, cloud-based distribution capabilities; HD upgrades in local markets; and advances in automation and cloud-based digital delivery that have reduced the complexity of HD ad management.

"Advertisers had been in a holding pattern for a while when it came to HD," explained John Roland, CEO of Extreme Reach in a statement. "The Q2 numbers re-affirm what we've heard from advertisers for a while: When key industry hurdles to adoption become less pronounced, you'll see more and more HD ads on TV."