Are your ads safe?

26th November 2014

As well as checking ads for compliance with the BCAP rules, all ads for broadcast are subject to technical checks before they can be cleared by us.


We check the height, duration and legibility of all super imposed text and we also test for flashing images to ensure that ads comply with Ofcom’s Guidelines on Flashing Images and Regular Patterns in Television.


The guidelines were drawn up with the aim of reducing the risk of exposing TV viewers that suffer from photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) to potentially harmful stimuli.


The Ofcom guidelines can be found here.


The Guidance sets out limits for potentially harmful flashing, rapidly changing image sequences and potentially harmful regular patterns that shouldn’t be exceeded.


Advertisers should understand that these are limits, not targets, and should take care to ensure all ads are produced well within the limits outlined.  The closer ads are to the technical limits, the greater the risk is that they will cause seizures in susceptible viewers.


All ads uploaded into Adway and CopyCentral are tested using the Harding’s HFPA-X V3.4.0 algorithm. It is possible that the uploaded file fails and the delivery master (which is higher quality) passes.



If an uploaded file fails,  as described above, we will accept a valid flashing certificate, uploaded as substantiation, to prove the actual broadcast file meets Ofcom regulations.


Clearcast currently only accept certificates from Harding’s HFPA-X system.


The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) have issued a list of PSE testing products that they say “competently perform PSE testing in the context of file-based QC”. See here for more information. We are currently reviewing these devices to determine whether we can accept certificates from a wider selection of PSE devices.


A checklist for our requirements for Flashing Certificates can be found here.