30th October 2018

Back in February of this year, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) announced tougher standards on Gambling advertising, focusing on ads’ appeal to problem gamblers and on free bets and bonuses.


In response to this, The Clearcast Training Programme devised a three-part plan to inform and discuss these changes with UK Gambling advertisers across Malta, Gibraltar & London. This was the first time in nearly a decade our Training Programme focused exclusively on Gambling regs and where better to do so than the three major hubs for Gambling across Europe?


We wanted to deliver 90-minute bitesize sessions concentrating on the dos and don’ts for Gambling TV ads in the UK. The agenda covered key rules and restrictions, the latest best practice, significant ASA rulings in the gaming sector and types of claims that need substantiation.


Malta: 13.09.18

First up, our UK & International Training Manager, Michael Haydon, flew to the cultural capital of Europe, Malta, where Casumo kindly lent us their offices to host.


  • 100% of attendees said they would recommend the course to a colleague
  • 100% of attendees rated the course either excellent or very good


 “It is very beneficial to understand the regs + get a better insight about the balance Clearcast targets to maintain. The awareness about minimising the risks + preventing damage can be better transferred with these meetings”


 “It was definitely useful and worthwhile”


“Since it is very hard for i-gaming companies to come together and define a self-discipline, Clearcast can be a perfect mediator within the industry”



Gibraltar: 27.09.18

Next up, Michael landed in sunny Gibraltar to deliver the second round of training. This time our stage was The University of Gibraltar, protruding over the beautiful coastline, the perfect zen learning spot. The session had a wide variety of attendees including a few from an agency who flew in from London to train alongside their client, based here in Gibraltar.


  • 100% of attendees said they felt significantly more confident in their knowledge of UK advertising rules around Gambling after the training
  • 100% of attendees rated the delivery of the session ‘Excellent’ or ‘very good’


“Excellent session”


“Very useful to get a background and better understanding of Clearcast’s background. Helpful and informative”


“Useful to do with the client. I have picked up a lot more info not only about the code but about Clearcast work and how to push back”



London: 04.10.18

And finally, home, to a suspiciously sunny October day in London.  We had a full house and an extensive mix of professionals from marketing managers, to lawyers, to producers, this would be an interesting round of Q&A. After the morning spread of croissants and coffee and some chit chat the training commenced, here are the stats:


  • 100% of attendees agreed they felt more confident in their knowledge on UK TV Advertising rules around Gambling after the session
  • 100% of the attendees said that they would recommend the course to a colleague


“Well thought out and desperately needed for an industry under intense scrutiny”


“I now have a fuller understanding and can advise my clients at initial creative conception”


 “This was so useful. Michael was great. He provided so much knowledge and information about gambling and was very engaging – thank you!”


“Very informative, expertly delivered”


Over the 3 sessions, we trained 57 people from across the industry including agencies, broadcasters and 10 x different gambling advertisers. We were overwhelmed with the response – so, thank you to all who attended!

Our sector specific or bite-size training sessions run once or twice a year alongside our regular courses. We have a few exciting sessions planned for 2019 so stay tuned! Or to pre-book your 2019 place for one of our regular spots, email us.


Thoughts from Michael:

“Whilst we have never staged the same training three times, we wanted to reach out to those based abroad and not limit the training to London. Special thanks goes to Florian Hohenleitner at Casumo, Jihane Nehhas at the University of Gibraltar and of course, Cass Coakley at Clearcast for making each session a success. The training evolved over the course of each location and was shaped by the delegate interaction who contributed lively Q&A and insightful observations throughout.”

Subtitling your ads just got easier

29th October 2018

Clearcast has partnered with subtitling specialist Digital Nirvana to increase the proportion of UK TV ads that are subtitled through a new online subtitling website, The new service is designed to make it easy to upload an ad and receive a file of subtitles that can sent to broadcasters* (there’s a step by step guide to using the service here).



People use subtitles for a variety of reasons; they are used not just by the hard of hearing, but by parents watching TV with noisy kids, by people who want to catch every word of dialogue or song lyric, in noisy environments like pubs and clubs and quiet ones where the TV volume is turned down so as not to disturb others. The latest available Ofcom research on usage of subtitles (2006) showed that 7.5 million people use subtitles yet broadcaster data suggests that in 2017 only around 60% of ads were subtitled. Apart from the social responsibility implications of this, in purely commercial terms it means that advertisers are likely to be losing out by paying for viewers that can’t hear their messages.



The new service makes subtitling even easier by allowing agencies and post houses to upload an ad and receive back a file containing accurate subtitles within a few hours. Users can either upload and pay as they go or set up an account.



Clearcast’s business focused CSR objective for the next 12 months is to drive up usage of subtitling in advertising. By promoting the new service we hope to drive up awareness of the issue and the proportion of subtitled TV ads.


This new subtitling service can be found at and also via MediaCentral, our task-based online portal designed to help advertisers and agencies to navigate the world of video ads.



* The subtitles will need to be correctly placed relative to any on screen text and Clearcast can manage this, or the whole end to end process for you, as part of our Edit to Clear service.


We now accept flashing certificates from a broader range of systems

25th October 2018

There are strict rules about the use of flashing images and regular patterns in adverts. This is to reduce the risk of exposing TV viewers that have photosensitive epilepsy to potentially harmful stimuli.


When you submit an ad to us, we automatically run it through a system that tests for this issue as part of the clearance process. The test is commonly known as the Harding test after the inventor of the system.


If your ad edit fails our flashing test, previously we would only accept a Harding Certificate generated by a Cambridge Research Systems testing device that indicated the edit had passed a flashing test.  In consultation with broadcasters, Clearcast has recently made a change to its copy clearance requirements regarding this flash test certification. We have broadened the list of flashing check providers and will now accept a certificate from any device on the DPP (Digital Production Partnership) list that indicates the clocked ad has passed an accepted flashing test.


There are a few specific requirements to this, for example that the tested file must be in the correct video specification and we have put together a checklist of requirements that must all be met before we can accept a test certificate. Clearcast maintain the right to refuse a certificate should we have reason to believe the requirements have not been met or that the commercial poses a potential risk.


Certificates generated by DPP approved systems in accordance with the above must be uploaded to the relevant CopyCentral submission as substantiation and will require discussion with the relevant Clearcast Copy Exec, who will be happy to help with any further questions.


For further information on getting any flashing images in your ad right, please visit this page on our Knowledge Base.



Are you busy?

24th October 2018

Of course you are!


You’re in the Christmas home-stretch. Our TV Admin team can help you in the crazy run up to The Big Day. 


At Clearcast we work with agencies, broadcasters and advertisers across the UK, so we can help make your ad clearance and delivery a smoother process, just when it all feels a bit much.


We can manage your UK and International Clearances and take care of your delivery and copy rotations.  


So if your short on staff or time, or both, contact Danny Turner here or give him a call on 0207 339 4770.

Clearcast Attribution: the essential service you never knew you used!

18th October 2018

If you’re a media owner and ever done “brands not carried” analysis, or an advertiser who has looked at who else is advertising in your category, you have probably used data from Clearcast’s Attribution service.


The team at Optimad, who operate the service on our behalf, are unsung heroes who ensure that every clock number has a common name attached to it (irrespective of broadcaster) as well as an Advertiser, Holding Company, Media Agency and AC Nielsen product category (available to AC Nielsen subscribers only). Systems like Mediaocean and Techedge combine our attribution data with commercial audiences from BARB and make TV one of the most transparent and accountable media available today.


The broadcasters and sales houses participating in the Attribution service are Sky Media, Channel 4, Digitex Trading Systems, ITV, Turner, Walt Disney, Box TV and ESTV (London Live) and the service standardised or validated over 1 million commercial records in 2017. Without that work it would be much harder to make sense of TV advertising data at a product level – and almost impossible to do any sort of analysis by advertiser or agency. Last year the Attribution team coded over 35,000 new clock numbers, allocating many to existing product names but creating over 2,600 new products; the latter will largely be new products on TV. They also attribute sponsorship data and in 2017 they handled over 2,400 sponsorship codes. None of this would be possible without the humble clock number, the universal code used to uniquely identify UK TV ads which is also managed by Clearcast. You can read more about that here.


Clearcast Attribution isn’t standing still. Optimad are in the process of rewriting the whole system so that it not only uses the latest software and is fully GDPR compliant but also incorporates some exciting additions. Most notably Attribution will move from producing data several days in arrears to being available at the point of transmission. It will also attribute a creative agency to each clock for the first time. Both of these open up exciting new possibilities for the way that the data can be used. This work is being done in stages and the first release, an entirely rewritten attributions website which allows users to browse the data and do basic analysis, has already gone live.


The data is used in several different ways: it’s most commonly used in analysis, billing and validation of BARB data through systems like those provided by Mediaocean, Techedge and Nielsen. However, it’s used much more widely: in data fusions, in non-BARB viewing panel data, in social media analysis and by auditors, music rights agencies and data analysts.


The new website allows us to provide access to new users who want to access TV data as quickly as it becomes available, for example to track their competitors’ activity. There is a cost-effective flat rate for this and Clearcast’s Business Affairs team can provide access to anything from this to the complete Attribution service which includes daily data files that can be ingested into other systems.


Alongside Copy Clearance and CARIA®, Attribution is one of the trinity of Clearcast owned and/or funded services, which streamline the process of getting ads to air.

The mighty clock number

18th October 2018

This article was originally published in our Autumn 2017 Newsletter, but it’s always good to be reminded about The Mighty Clock Number.


If you’re reading this you almost certainly know about the clock number, the 15 character unique identifier for TV commercials. The UK is advanced compared to other markets in having had a standard clock number system for many years. You may not have given it much thought, but here’s why the clock number is so important:


  • By providing a unique identifier, the clock number ensures that the right ad is broadcast. That’s why Clearcast manages the first three characters to ensure every agency has a unique identifier and CopyCentral double checks to see if a number has been used before


  • It’s also used by agencies to keep track of the visual artists, composers, musicians and other rights holders associated with a commercial. That helps ensure artists are paid


  • It allows Clearcast’s Attribution service to provide additional metadata, like Nielsen category, Advertiser and Holding Company. This in turn allows post campaign and share of voice analysis on systems like those provided by Media Ocean, Kantar and Techedge


  • Broadcasters, digital publishers and ad serving companies use the clock number to check if an ad has been cleared by Clearcast. Historically this was a manual process but now more often is automated through the use of the CopyCentral API, a constantly updated feed of the status of our clearances


  • Broadcasters also use the clock number to identify where artists need to be kept away from children’s programmes in which they appear (a BCAP code requirement) and opportunities for scheduling ads featuring artists in other programmes where there is a synergy



It’s also one area where linear TV advertising and VOD is ahead of programmatic platforms; there is currently no similar standard for digital assets, which makes digital campaigns on these platforms much harder to manage and track.


So next time you type in a humble clock number, think about the great British success story it represents.

Black Friday ads – six watch outs

04th October 2018

We’ve only got a few weeks to go until  one of the biggest sales events of the year arrives. Below, our Senior Copy Exec Nicola Wynter gives us her top 6 tips for getting  those Black Friday TV ads right first time.



  • As with any sale or offer we will need you to upload the ad script with the retail substantiation form filled out by the advertiser


  • Any products featured within the advert should be included in the event


  • If the sale is an existing one, you can’t compile the ad calling it a Black Friday Sale


  • Most Black Friday promotions are longer than just one day, and that isn’t a problem but the ad should always make this clear by stating the start and end date with a super. There should be no implication the sale is just on for one day e.g. with audio stating ‘Only on Black Friday’ as this would contradict the start and end dates stated in the super


  • If the promotion doesn’t include discounted items, but instead features offers like “free installation” then you can’t call it a sale but you can call it an event


  • If the event doesn’t have an end date as the products are on offer until they are no longer in stock, you will need the super “while stock lasts” or similar


If you have any questions about your Black Friday ads please talk to your Clearcast Copy Exec.

Christmas Deadlines 2018

04th October 2018

We now have the below copy instructions & delivery timetable which has been agreed by ITV, Sky Media, Channel 4 & Turner Broadcasting for the 2018 Christmas period.


Day  Airdate Copy Instructions By Copy Delivery & Approval By
Tuesday  4th December 29-Nov 29-Nov
Wednesday  5th December 30-Nov 30-Nov
Thursday  6th December 03-Dec 03-Dec
Friday  7th December 04-Dec 04-Dec
Saturday  8th December 05-Dec 05-Dec
Sunday  9th December 05-Dec 05-Dec
Monday  10th December 05-Dec 05-Dec
Tuesday  11th December 05-Dec 06-Dec
Wednesday  12th December 06-Dec 07-Dec
Thursday  13th December 06-Dec 10-Dec
Friday  14th December 07-Dec 11-Dec
Saturday  15th December 07-Dec 12-Dec
Sunday  16th December 10-Dec 12-Dec
Monday  17th December 10-Dec 12-Dec
Tuesday  18th December 11-Dec 13-Dec
Wednesday  19th December 11-Dec 14-Dec
Thursday  20th December 12-Dec 17-Dec
Friday  21st December 12-Dec 18-Dec
Saturday  22nd December 13-Dec 18-Dec
Sunday  23rd December 13-Dec 18-Dec
Monday*  24th December 14-Dec 18-Dec
Tuesday**  25th December 14-Dec 19-Dec
Wednesday**   26th December 17-Dec 19-Dec
Thursday  27th December 17-Dec 19-Dec
Friday  28th December 18-Dec 19-Dec
Saturday  29th December 18-Dec 19-Dec
Sunday  30th December 18-Dec 19-Dec
Monday*  31st December 20-Dec 20-Dec
Tuesday**  1st January 20-Dec 20-Dec
Wednesday  2nd January 20-Dec 20-Dec


VOD campaigns between 21st Dec 2018 – 4th Jan 2019, all copy, rotations, trackings tags and changes need to be received by Dec 14th.


* Clearcast Closed


** Bank Holiday


See the Clearcast opening times for the Christmas period here.

Improvements to CopyCentral

02nd October 2018

Over the past few months we’ve been working on a number of changes to our online submissions system, CopyCentral, as part of our programme of improvements.


Whilst most features have been targeted internally to help us provide quicker clearances, there are a few new features that will benefit you too:



Within the feedback tab of a submission, Agency and Clearcast users will be able to paste any clock number or CopyCentral submission number, which will create a clickable link directly to that clock/submission. This provides agencies with a quick way to refer to another submission e.g. a previously approved clock or script etc.

Note: When clicking a link, for security reasons, agencies will only be able to access relevant TVC submissions. Some links may be to script submissions and you will receive an “Oops – Page not found” error message when clicking on these.



During the clearance process it’s sometimes necessary for a member of the team to speak to you in person, often because there is an issue and we want to speed things along for you. Within CopyCentral you have a user profile which includes contact details.

So that we know who you are and how to get in touch, in addition to your name, your address (including postcode) and phone number are mandatory fields. If any of these fields are blank when you log-in, CopyCentral will now automatically redirect you to your profile page where you can enter correct details. It is important that these details are correct and up to date and this is required by the user terms and conditions to which you have agreed.

You can get to your user profile page at any time in CopyCentral by clicking your name in the top right-hand corner. The T&Cs can be accessed from here by clicking the highlighted “Terms & Conditions” link in the Compliance section of your profile page.



You may have noticed when uploading a new version of a script, the description box retained what was entered last time you uploaded a version of this submission. This box will now be automatically cleared to avoid confusion.


SORTABLE COLUMNS ON WATCHLIST (broadcaster users only)

The watchlist can now be sorted by all columns. Click a column to apply the sort, click again to reverse the sort.


FACILITATE  ‘ADD TO WATCHLIST’ (broadcaster users only)

On the search page, if you search for a clock number and it’s not present in the database, you can now click on an “Add to Watchlist” button to add this number to the watchlist, without having to change view and re-enter the same clock number.




We regularly receive feedback from users, which we evaluate and feed into this improvement programme. So if you have an idea for a new feature or an idea of how something could be improved we’d love to hear from you. Please drop it in an email to our support team at


As ever our support team are on hand to help if you have any problems or questions and we also have lots of information on our help portal at