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Quality Matters: Strategies for Preventing Broadcast File Rejection

In the broadcasting industry, ensuring that your content meets quality standards and network requirements is paramount. The last thing any content creator wants is to have their files rejected, leading to extra time, effort, and resources. In this article, we'll discuss the intricacies of broadcast file rejection and explore strategies that we follow at Aberdeen to help our clients prevent file rejection.

How common is it to see stations reject files? In 2023, our AberFast team delivered approximately 88,000 broadcast files. Out of those final deliveries, 510 issues were flagged which could have led to station rejections.

What Challenges Do Content Creators Face?

Amid technological advancements throughout the broadcasting industry, adapting and adhering to the changes in compliance, FCC regulatory guidelines, and delivery requirements pose a significant challenge for many broadcast teams. From quality issues to content concerns and file delivery requirements, numerous factors can contribute to the rejection of broadcast files.

Common Causes of File Rejection

Over the years, through our interactions with station partners and experts, and in assisting clients with program delivery across various networks in the broadcasting industry, we have identified the following list as the most common causes for rejections.

  • Quality Issues
  • Content Concerns
  • Creative Issues
  • File Requirement Issues

Quality issues often top the list of reasons for file rejection. Whether it's video or audio-related, production and post-production processes can introduce issues that can result in content not meeting the broadcast quality standards. Additional causes like content concerns, such as the use of inappropriate or controversial material, and creative issues like effects or artifacts failing to meet the station’s broadcast requirements can lead to rejection. File requirements, including format, resolution, and aspect ratio, must also be met to ensure acceptance.

Strategies to Combat File Rejection Causes

Quality Issues

At Aberdeen, we prioritize quality assurance to minimize the risk of file rejection.

Every workflow established in our system involves multiple layers of human and automated QC using Telestream VidChecker, which is configured to check and correct video and audio levels to meet broadcast standards. Some of the checks include chroma levels, RGB gamut, field orders, cadence, stripe errors, analog and digital dropouts, audio phase coherence, dual mono detection, and true audio peaks. (If any of these terms are new to you, here’s a resource to keep handy: Tektronix Glossary of Video Terms & Acronyms)

Now, the question is why use both? Our goal has always been to exceed the quality expectations of our clients as they have entrusted us to deliver their files on their behalf. So adding both helps us identify and resolve quality issues that can be detected by humans and issues that can evade human detection. Some of the issues flagged by our QC team are related to captioning accuracy, audio loudness, interlacing, etc. while the automated QC helps identify issues related to the container, color levels, field orders, audio true peaks, etc.

Content/Creative/File Requirement Issues

In a constantly evolving industry, staying abreast of regulatory broadcast standards and station requirements is essential. We regularly connect with our station partners to understand their updated delivery requirements and guidelines, ensuring that our workflows are aligned with their needs.

One example of a station-wide content requirement that we recently had to address involved coordinating with some of our clients regarding a network disclaimer policy. One of our network partners informed us about a change in the disclaimer policy for paid programming. According to the new policy, a program could be rejected if it did not include a 5-second disclaimer at the beginning. We gathered the details of the new disclaimer requirements and passed them along to our clients, assisting them in incorporating this change.

This isn't the first time we've encountered such a situation, and it certainly won't be the last. Therefore, we document these updates and ensure our clients are informed about any new requirements, and during our manual quality control (QC) checks, we use this documented information to flag any issues that do not meet the specified requirements.

Are Strategies Alone Sufficient to Combat File Rejection?

Quality is non-negotiable for us. Over the years, we've learned to adapt and refine our processes to uphold the highest broadcast standards. Our automated QC software is regularly updated to align with broadcast standards and identify issues that may compromise quality. As mentioned earlier, we keep our station requirements up to date to serve our clients and make sure we deliver the correct file. In the event of any rejection, we follow a tested and proven engineered approach to conduct thorough investigations to pinpoint the root cause and implement preventive measures for the future.


While broadcast file rejection is a tough challenge, it is not something that cannot be prevented. We have learned over the years that the correct strategies like prioritizing quality assurance, staying informed about regulatory changes, and fostering collaborative relationships with network partners can help content creators minimize the risk of rejection and ensure seamless delivery of their content. We love our clients and want to help them navigate the complexities of broadcast file delivery with confidence and efficiency.

Learn more about the entire AberFast process in our webinar, An Overview of AberFast Broadcast Transcoding & Station Delivery, hosted by Matt Cook, President of Aberdeen Broadcast Services.