Is the TV Station(s) You Are Buying Covering Up?

Is the TV Station(s) You Are Buying Covering Up?

John Haggard

Every season that there is severe weather, you will find some TV stations that cover up the lower third of your commercial with weather “crawls” — updates on school closings, severe weather, and the like. The Lower Third is that area of the video screen where typically your contact information is, such as your website address, phone number, or call-to-action statement. The crawls are placed on top of your commercial so that in effect you are losing most if not all of its impact every time it runs. If you bought a brand new car and had the lower door panels covered up with something that you did not buy or pay for, you would be upset as well. Professional stations who are customer-focused “squeeze” the video picture during commercial breaks so as not to injure advertisers who are paying good money to be on the station. What is amazing is that even larger markets like Nashville will have some stations that will cover up your commercial. Once brought to their attention, they promise to do better, but we find on spot checks year after year that the same thing can continue to happen and on the same station. The best way to ensure that you are getting your money’s worth is to use a DVR recorder to record the spot times. In extreme cases, you can make the station certify that for all spots run, none were covered up (which will take them hours of work to prove because they have to go back and look), and ask them to provide make-goods for commercials that were improperly run. Not all stations cover up Lower Thirds of commercials, but you should check to be sure, or you may be wasting thousands of dollars and getting what you did NOT pay for.