7 February 2014
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A unique spot delivery platform and format… 100% HD: D-Mat

Ever since 2007, when our members started to abandon the ads tape delivery method and switched instead to dematerialised solutions, egta has closely followed the development of spot delivery methods. In this week’s egtabite, we would like to draw your attention to the developments of the Belgian market, the first European country to broadcast exclusively in HD dematerialised spots since January 2014.

The concept

Over the past few years egta members have adopted or developed various methods to fit their needs in terms of dematerialised spot delivery. Most of the time, decisions vary from one broadcaster to the other, creating a market with a high competition between solution providers. To find an alternative to working with external providers, Belgian sales houses joined forces to create a unique format and delivery method called “D-MAT”. Launched in 2008, the D-MAT system allows TV ads to be sent via the internet over secure FTP connections. Due to the success of this format, two years on, broadcasters took another bold step and decided to accept only D-MAT formats for the delivery of TV ads, imposing a unique format to the entire TV market. All actors on the market agree today that it represented a real improvement of communication between all parties involved in the advertising workflow.

Since 2011, agencies and production houses have had the possibility to send their spots in HD format and, as a result, in 2013, 85% of spots were sent in high definition. This is why the market decided to go yet a step further in 2014 when they began to impose the delivery of spots in HD format for the entire market, a European premiere to egta’s knowledge.

How does it work?

D-MAT is a dedicated encoding and delivery system that enables a direct contact between the production or post production houses and the advertising sales houses or broadcasters. It uses standardised exchange files that can be broadcast on all channels represented by the advertising sales houses who are members of ABMA (Belgian Association of TV Sales Houses). The D-MAT system also offers all the advantages of indexation and digital traceability of adverts and is associated with an automatic quality control and adaptation of the audio to EBU’s R128 standard, guaranteeing the quality of the spot and its readiness to be aired. A “delivery ticket” is sent to every production house as soon as the spot is delivered to the sales house.

Please click on the images to enlarge.

In Belgium, 11 TV and cinema sales houses, more than 60 TV channels, over 200 cinemas and an estimated 50 production and post production houses use the HD D-MAT technology to deliver their production.

Why does this matter to egta members?

egta believes that this initiative is interesting for two reasons: firstly, because it is a perfect example of what is possible when an entire market joins forces to make technological advances that can benefit all of parties involved and secondly, because the delivery method of spots is a matter that sales houses worldwide. The actors concerned by the choice of delivery platform or provider are so numerous (advertisers, creative agencies, media agencies, post production houses, film production houses, sales houses, and independent play-out centres) that the decision can often be controversial, costly and time-consuming. In an era when sales houses are multiplying the number of technological providers and partners they work with for their digital activities, it seems to be an important and bold step to have sales houses as the gate-keepers of a unique standard delivery method. Such a system can allow an entire market to always be at the top of technological advancements and ready for market developments; in this case HD, (necessary with the size and quality of TV screens growing), but who knows, in a few years, in 3D, 4K or other new formats.

egta is also aware of several other countries who have decided to join forces to standardise formats (the Swedish Adtoox, Finnish Spotgate or in the Netherlands). egta published a comparison of these delivery methods in 2010 (which can be downloaded here. N.B. this document has not been updated since).

 If your country still hesitates to adopt the dematerialised delivery method, you can watch this video, which showcases testimonies from various actors on the Belgian market after they decided to abandon tape delivery.

Target: TV
What they said

» Pierre Vanderbeck - RMB / ABMA-BVAM

Background info

Please click on the links below to access the relevant documents:

» ABMA website & HD D-Mat description (please click here)


Click here to view the video about spot dematerialisation.

Download in PDF

Please click here download the PDF version

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» DigitalNext Meeting (TV)

27 March 2014, Amsterdam at the kind invitation of RTL Nederlands
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