Category Archives: The Blogs

HD TV Grows Up

High Definition TV has changed the way we enjoy sports games, events and programs. The screen resolution is so dramatically improved it makes the traditional Standard Definition look like mud when compared. While the clarity of the image is greatly improved, broadcasters have been slow to change the way they produce “live” games fearing backlash from SD viewers. For example, they place all graphics inside the 4X3 “safe zone” and the additional real estate on both sides of the screen often goes unused.

This fall, Fox Sports was the first to take the leap into producing content for a true HD telecast using the entire screen. SD viewers will see a letter boxed screen (black on the top and bottom) and a 25% drop in their resolution quality. It’s a forward thinking gamble Fox Sports has to believe will have more upside than down in this time of transition from SD to HD.

The other conversion dilemma becoming more noticeable now that more commercials are being shot in HD is how to handle the side panels when  SD commercials have to run on an HD broadcast. Before long, most commercials will be produced in HD and a the issue will go away, but for now networks have to either put up black bars with a station logo, blur out the side panels or create a box within a box effect, leaving black around all four sides of the screen.

TBS was also the first major broadcaster I’ve noticed to use the black sidebars to promote a specific show while a commercial is running. The Turner crew put up “CONAN” promotions in that space during the MLB Playoffs. I think others will follow soon to use the sidebars for promos, or add value for the advertiser. For example, if it’s a Coke commercial, display the Coke web site address on the side panels or put up a tag line that can be visible during the entire commercial. Turner Sports also left up their “pitch tracker” up on the right side of the screen for the entire game truly taking advantage of  the additional on-screen space.

ESPN has jumped into the fray by creating an upcoming story menu that is seen on the left side of the screen during Sportscenter and other sports news programs, and a sports ticker at the bottom of the screen that’s running throughout the game.

As a fan, a good way to see for yourself how much more  content can be created is to take notice when you attend a major sporting event of how they use the main video scoreboard. Most venues have upgraded to a 16X9 screen and the production professionals are creating a host of additional sellable content to their in-arena/stadium presentations.


Shaping the Sports and Entertainment Industry!

Ken Adelson is an Emmy-Award winning sports broadcasting and multimedia executive, innovator, producer and visual storyteller with over 28 years of production, programming and digital media leadership at top tier organizations 

Currently, the Executive Producer for TJC Media Ventures, an organization dedicated to the growth of the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Industry thru Digital Sports Broadcasting and marketing, Ken has been a media industry Senior Advisor and nationally recognized speaker. He specializes in creating and monetizing multimedia sports programming, multi platform television production strategies, banding, social media and public relations to support any fully-integrated media initiative. A highly regarded executive with expertise in working with organizations of all sizes and budgets to generate extraordinary results, create powerful and engaging content for any size screen.

Air Thunder Emmy Show thumbnail

OKC Thunder…6 Weeks to Air!

In August of 2008, I was hired by the Oklahoma City Thunder to accomplish something that had never been done before, start up an all-encompassing NBA broadcasting department and digital programming and production operation in less than 6 weeks. The Seattle Supersonics were relocating to Oklahoma City and the decision was made to bring the media operations in house.

When I came on board just before labor day, there were no TV or Radio contracts, no editing equipment or servers, no computers, no phones, no finished office space, no suitable in-arena control room or camera positions at the Ford center, no production staff, no on-air talent and not much time.

The goals were lofty, secure cable and over the air TV partners, a flagship radio station and create a radio network. Produce every game for TV and radio, create and assemble a weekly magazine show, produce profiles, features stories, tune-in promos, ticket ads, sales and marketing tapes, video news releases, cover all team community service events and create motivational videos for the players. Distribute the material across all outlets including TV, Broadband, Wireless and In-Arena and do it on a modest budget with a fraction of the staff employed by regional sports networks and sports leagues.

It was quite a challenge. By the end of our first season the pieces were in place and the operation was rolling.

In year two, we fine tuned the operations and ramped up the quality and quantity of the content. Thunder Broadcasting won a Heartland regional Emmy for best game broadcast of 2009 and “Air Thunder” was nominated for top series program.