Los Angeles (June 2, 2004) –Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) today issued a joint request for proposals (RFP) to several companies involved in the electronic monitoring of television commercials and program content. The next step in a joint effort to create a system for more accurate residual payments to performers in television commercials, the request focuses on companies that use embedded codes, which are electronic signals transmitted within commercials that are invisible to viewers.
Using this technology, commercials would be identified by special equipment designed to read and interpret these embedded codes. This approach is intended to solve the chronic problem of identifying individual commercials among the vast number of spots broadcast in order to provide detailed, accurate data on actual usage. The RFP request closely follows the recent SAG-JPC engagement of commercials payroll company Talent Partners to study the feasibility of validating residuals payments by electronically tracking media invoices.
“This crucial data gathering test, together with the recommendations from Talent Partners, is key to ensuring proper and accurate residual payments to our members working in commercials and to provide advertisers, as well, with improved tracking,” said Sallie Weaver, SAG deputy national executive director for contracts.
The monitoring companies have been asked to submit their proposals in early July. Following a review, SAG and the JPC will invite a select group of companies to present their ideas in person in New York later that month. The winning proposal will be chosen in August, and a contract will be awarded shortly thereafter. Both the electronic monitoring project and the Talent Partners study are funded by a grant from the SAG-Producers Industry Advancement & Cooperative Fund, a union-industry non-profit organization financed by contributions from employers.
The joint effort got underway in 2000, when SAG and the JPC agreed to work together to research methods of monitoring television commercials. Current practices for commercial monitoring employ pattern recognition methods, which often do not provide adequate detail for precise reporting and accurate residual payments. After discussions with the union, the industry agreed to a trial period to test the effectiveness of an embedded code method on a selected number of commercials. This joint initiative focuses on comparing the effectiveness of monitoring commercial media invoices to monitoring actual broadcast use of commercials. The results from the Talent Partners study, and the test data provided by the company contracted through the RFP, will be compared and evaluated by SAG and the JPC. A report on the findings is projected for the summer of 2005.