Important Changes to Television Commercial Specifications

1:32 PM, 21 September 2012

New Zealand
Broadcast Television Commercial Submission

Dear Industry Colleague,

The purpose of this letter is to notify you of important upcoming changes affecting television commercial and content submissions to New Zealand Broadcasters.

The most immediate change will be the adoption of an audio loundness specification, to come into effect on January 1 st 2013.  After this date, TV commercials being submitted must conform to the new specification in order to be accepted.

In line with global standards, New Zealand broadcasters are endorsing a more seamless audio experience for viewers across commercial and channel programmes.

There has been a lot of interest around the world in TV commercial audio loudness, culminating in legislation in the US and an aggressive code of practice in the UK and Europe. This “loudness” has only been quantified into an agreed measurement as recently as 2007, but since then, monitoring equipment and software has become both readily available and inexpensive.

Both Australian and New Zealand broadcasters have been moving to add a loudness requirement to their technical standards for material submission, and the New Zealand Broadcast Engineering Group* has recommended adoption in the latest national Standards Guide.

This revised document is called the Technical Standards and Documentation Guide for the Delivery of Television Commercials dated August 2012, and should accompany this letter. It contains important new information about:

  • The new loudness specification
  • Digital tapeless delivery of content
  • High Definition television
  • Closed captioning
  • Pathways to the transmission of surround sound

_____________________

* The major NZ broadcasters’ technical specifications are reviewed regularly by a national technology joint working group known as the New Zealand Broadcast Engineering Group which directly represents the interests of the broadcasters, and receives submissions from other interested parties.  The joint working group periodically revises these specifications for the industry as a whole, which are designed to maintain high standards and align New Zealand with best practices in Europe, USA, Australia and other television markets.

 

As a major contributor to this initiative, Sky Network Television is in support of the new technical standards and implementation date. Sky will formally communicate this through its normal process of updating Technical Delivery Specifications.

This information has been released as early as possible to allow TV commercial agencies, production and post-production companies, audio houses and related suppliers the necessary time to ensure that the requirements can be met. The January timing of the introduction of the TVC loudness specification has been chosen to avoid all major seasonal peaks. It may be noted that Australian broadcasters are discussing a similar timeframe for their market.

It is recommended that you:

  • Communicate the Standards Guide to any of your related suppliers
  • Ensure that your audio workflow is able to verify compliance before submission
  • Check that your approved delivery provider is compatible with this new requirement

Finally, the New Zealand broadcasters recognise that there are many TV commercials which have already been submitted, and many more that will be submitted, before the January 1 st deadline, which may not comply with the new specification. Since TV commercials have a relatively short lifetime compared to programme content, existing TVCs already at the station on January 1 st 2013 will be accommodated, and will not require re-submission. However, the broadcasters reserve the right to limit the loudness of any such existing material to meet the new specification. 

Comments and questions regarding the Standards Guide and New Zealand Broadcast Engineering Group submissions are welcome and may be addressed to the group’s convenor, Robert Parkinson of Grass Valley Group New Zealand.

Email address is: bob.parkinson@grassvalley.com.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to call the New Zealand broadcasters directly on the numbers below:

Mark Bullen                                        Kris Johnson                            Mark Chapman

09 539 7002                                        09 928 9063                            09 916 7746

Maori Television                                 Mediaworks                            TVNZ

 

The undersigned wish to thank you in advance for your assistance in making a seamless transition to the new TV Commercial Broadcast Specifications.

Maori Television Service

Mediaworks

Television New Zealand

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