Reach Out and Fax Your TV Commercials: VideoFax Lets Agencies, Clients, Post Houses Send Full-Motion Video Via Telephone Lines in 15 Minutes

HOLLYWOOD – A new system for ‘faxing’ TV commercials that …The $25,000 VideoFax box, which comes with a keyboard and monitor to operate it, works via a switched digital phone service, which requires phone company connection at a cost of up to $500.The box, which must be utilized by both sender and receiver for the system to work, is hooked to a phone line, TV and VCR. With the punch of a keyboard button, the sender transfers a tape to fax and then to a receiver’s system, at which point the ad can be viewed on the monitor or dubbed to tape.Monthly telephone fees for the service amount to about $40; the cost per fax is about $10, Porte said. Sending ads via satellite, by comparison, costs about $400-500 per spot and takes hours. The faxed video is identical to the original, transferred at the rate of 30 frames per second.VideoFax was devised at the suggestion of Foote, Cone & Belding/Irvine, Calif., the first company to have purchased the system. Concerned with budget constraints for client Mazda, for which the agency produced almost 400 TV ads in 1992, FCB vp/executive producer Mike Davison needed an easier way to view ads in progress than trekking between Irvine and Santa Monica, Calif., post house Mad River Post. Davison took his concerns to Mad River’s Porte and Michael Elliot, who teamed with Michael Shaughnessy and Kim Gould to form MR Technologies in order to develop a solution. Shaughnessy is the former president of Editel/L.A.; Gould was an engineer at Hughes Aircraft.Davison estimates that after about six months, FCB creatives are using VideoFax for 50% of their productions. ‘As the learning curve of our creatives increases, we will use it more,’ he said.Mad River surveyed 250 agency production executives to find out how much time they spend in off-premise post-production. On average, the execs spend 30 hours a month at local post houses and make one or two out-of-town post trips. They estimated that time equals $800-1,000 per person in expenses per month.Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)<