Digital on-screen graphic
A digital on-screen graphic (originally known as digitally originated graphic, and known in the UK and New Zealand by the acronym DOG; in the US, Canada and Australia as a bug) is a watermark-like station logo that most television broadcasters overlay over a portion of the screen area of their programs to identify the channel. They are thus a form of permanent visual station identification, increasing brand recognition and asserting ownership of the video signal. In some cases, the graphic also shows the name of the current program. Some television networks use an on-screen graphic to advertise upcoming programs (usually programs scheduled later the same day, but also for "significant" upcoming programs as much as a week in advance).
The graphic identifies the source of programming, even if it has been time-shifted—that is, recorded to videotape, DVD, or a digital personal video recorder such as TiVo. Many of these technologies allow viewers to skip or omit traditional between-programming station identification; thus the use of a DOG enables the station or network to enforce brand identification even when standard commercials are skipped.
DOG watermarking also helps minimize off-the-air copyright infringement (for example, the distribution of a current series' episodes on DVD): the watermarked content is easily differentiated from "official" DVD releases, and can help law-enforcement efforts by identifying not only the station an illegally copied broadcast was captured from, but usually the actual date of the broadcast as well.
Graphics may be used to identify if the correct subscription is being used for a type of venue. For example, showing Sky Sports within a pub requires a more expensive subscription; a channel authorized under this subscription adds a pint glass graphic to the bottom of the screen for inspectors to see. The graphic changes at certain times, making it harder to counterfeit.
- 1 Usage
- 1.1 Arab world
- 1.2 Australia
- 1.3 Austria
- 1.4 Brazil
- 1.5 Canada
- 1.6 China
- 1.7 Germany
- 1.8 Ireland
- 1.9 Israel
- 1.10 Indonesia
- 1.11 Japan
- 1.12 Mexico
- 1.13 Morocco
- 1.14 New Zealand
- 1.15 Philippines
- 1.16 Poland
- 1.17 Russia
- 1.18 Serbia
- 1.19 Singapore
- 1.20 Thailand
- 1.21 Turkey
- 1.22 United Kingdom
- 1.23 United States
- 1.24 Vietnam
- 2 Connections with sponsor tags
- 3 Usage in ham radio and TV
- 4 Live DOGs by hobbyists
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Many news broadcasters also place a clock alongside their bug. In the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, DOGs may also include the show's parental guideline rating. In Australia, this is known as a Program Return Graphic (PRG). It has become common to place text above the station's logo advertising other programs on the network.
In many countries, some TV networks put "live" in the bottom of the DOG to advise viewers that the program is live, as opposed to a repeat.
Arabic TV logos are placed in the top-right and top-left except for Al-Jazeera, whose logo appears on the bottom-right of the screen. Some of the Arabian TV stations hide their logos during commercial breaks and promos/trailers, such as Dubai TV, Dubai One, Funoon, the Egyptian CBC and Nile TV networks, ART Hekayat, ART Hekayat 2, Iqraa and Al-Jazeera.
Australia first introduced the digital on-screen graphic in early 1998. The Seven Network was the first network to broadcast digital on-screen graphics on all of their programs, following The Nine Network in late 2002 later Network Ten in mid-to-late 2004. DOGs in Australia most commonly appear in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen, but sports orientated content that uses the network's sports brand (e.g. Seven Network and Seven Sport) generally appear on the top-right hand corner of the screen. One originally placed its DOG in the top-right hand corner of the screen due to it being a sports orientated channel at the time, but after the 2011 rebrand to allow a wide range of content to be broadcast, the channel's DOG was moved to the bottom-right hand corner of the screen. The ABC3 and ABC4Kids channels originally placed their DOGs in the top-left hand corner of the screen, but have since moved them down to the bottom-right hand corner as of late-2013. Datacasting channels and home shopping channels show their DOGs in the top-right hand corner of the screen.
DOGs are generally shown in a semi-transparent format, but are shown opaque during in-programme advertisements that take place at the very bottom of the screen. News services have their own DOGs placed where their network's DOG would normally be, but are only shown in an opaque format. News services generally show footage that was captured by another network (usually for sporting stories), but the semi-transparent DOG of the original network is still shown. Current affairs programmes and other news programmes that are produced by the network generally show their own opaque DOG at the bottom-left hand corner of the screen, opposite to their network's semi-transparent DOG which still appears (e.g. Nine Network and A Current Affair).
Australian TV networks hide all of their DOGs during advertisement breaks. They only reappear during the promotion for a programme that will be shown on the station and are not shown during any other advertisement material.
At times, networks will superimpose a semi-transparent watermark immediately adjacent to their DOG to advertise an upcoming special event that the network will be broadcasting (e.g. Network Ten superimposed an advertisement for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on their primary channel (Ten), One, and Eleven as they were to be the Australian broadcaster of the event), or to advertise a popular upcoming programme.
ORF, the Austrian public broadcasting agency, introduced digital on-screen graphics in 1992 on both television channels operated back then. Before, only the abbreviation "ORF" was shown randomly for several minutes during the programming in the top right corner of the screen, styled in a simple white sans-serif typeface. Nowadays, all Austrian television channels, both public and private, are required by law to display a digital on-screen graphic continuously in order to enable channel identification. However, during commercial and continuity breaks, it is forbidden to show digital on-screen graphics, to allow a further distinction between paid commercials or station announcements and programming content.
The position on the screen varies between the top left and the top right corner: for instance, public broadcaster ORF shows the digital on-screen graphics on ORF eins (first channel) in the top left corner, on ORF 2 (second channel) in the top right corner and on ORF III (third channel) again in the top left corner. Commercial broadcaster ATV places the graphic in the top right corner on its main channel and in the top left corner on its additional channel ATV II. Most other commercial channels show their digital on-screen graphics in the top right corner of the screen.
In Brazil, digital on-screen graphics were introduced in the mid-1990s and are always used by all channels (free and pay). In most free-to-air channels, the logomarks are located on the bottom-right hand corner of the screen and in all free channels they are usually transparent, but if some program or event is being broadcast live or exclusive or if some archived footage is shown, they become colorful. In some pay channels, the logos appear even in commercial breaks, but they become transparent in this situation.
In Canada, networks and channels display logo bugs the same way as the UK and the US, with only minor differences.
Canadian networks often request the simultaneous substitution of programs on US networks. The imported feed is either a clean feed without a bug from the US broadcaster, or a direct US feed with the US network's bug present.
When the US network's bug is present, the Canadian broadcaster will either:
- "co-brand" the show by placing their logo in a different area of the screen.
- cover the logo with their own opaque logo—this strategy was formerly used by CTVglobemedia (now Bell Media) TV stations with a purely grey logo (most prominently during The View, American Idol, and NBC's late-night programming simulcast by CTV Two), and NTV in Newfoundland. Bell has since phased out this practice in favor of co-branding.
- Not insert their own bug at all (sometimes done by City)
TV stations in mainland China always place their logo (usually semi-transparent and sometimes animated) in the top-left corner of the screen in full colour or grey-scale, regardless of the content being broadcast (programme or advertisements); although in some rare cases, the DOG maybe placed elsewhere to avoid covering the score bug during the broadcast of a sport event.
In the 1980s, public broadcasters started to randomly show logos during programs to prevent video piracy, following the lead of Italian broadcasters RAI and Canale 5. After the first private stations emerged in 1984, permanently showing their logo most times, the public broadcasters soon followed. Today practically all TV stations show their logo during the programs and often these are an integral part of their design using fluent motion graphic animations to make the transition between programs, previews and advertising, as well as displaying additional information such as teletext numbers or the name of the following program. Most logos are transparent during programming though some channels don't. (e.g. kabel eins uses a bright orange coloured logo.) Also the majority of the channels show their logo in either the top-left or top-right corner of the picture though there are exceptions (e.g. RTL II in the bottom-right or N24 logo in the bottom-left and date and time in the top-right).
The Irish language channel TnaG first used their bug during simulcast of QVC and their coverage of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament). In 1998 TV3 launch as Ireland's first commercial operator and the first Irish channel to permanently use a bug in the left hand corner of the screen. In 1999 TnaG re-branded as TG4 and began showing their logo during all programmes. In 2002 RTÉ introduced their bug however it would only appear for twenty seconds at the beginning of each show and it was there to classify the suitability of the content of the show, in 2004 the bug became a permanent part of the on screen presentation for both RTÉ One and RTÉ Two. RTÉ's classification guide also appears for twenty seconds at the beginning of each show. RTÉ's, TG4's and Setanta Ireland's bugs appear in the upper right hand corner of the screen, while TV3's bugs appear in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. RTÉ and TV3 do not use their bug during news or current affairs programming. Channel 6 (now 3e) also displayed a bug during its two years on the air, 3e continue to display an on screen logo. The new digital services from RTÉ also display bugs RTÉjr, RTÉ Two HD and RTÉ One+1. Bugs are also used to tell viewers when shows are live or when they are replays. RTÉ use the word "replay" during repeats of live programming while TV3 advise viewers "Text & Comment Lines are Closed", Setanta replace the word "Ireland" with the word "live" to advise viewers that they are watching live events rather than repeats and TG4 places the Irish word "beo" (live) below the number '4' in their logo during live programming. RTÉ refer to DOGs as "bugs". In Northern Ireland UTV began displaying their bug in the late 2000s. All of the community and local channels in Ireland display a bug. All bugs also display 888 for subtitles.
In Israel, channel watermarks more often appear on the top left or the top right since Israeli cable and satellite based services often have the channel description and programming (OSD) on the bottom of the screen. In ad breaks it is required to replace the channel watermark with a special symbol - often on the other edge of the screen - indicating there are ads at the moment.
Indonesian TV DOGs have been used since the 1980s, when TVRI introduced its DOGs. RCTI became the second network to introduce a DOG in 1989. All logos appear in either the top-left hand or the top-right hand corners. MetroTV was the first to move theirs to the bottom-right hand corner in 2010 (the year the network changed its logo). Unlike Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, most Indonesian TV networks never leave their logos during commercial breaks, instead, the logo becomes transparent. For the station identification, the logo will remain on-screen, but sometimes it will disappear prior to the identification.
On all Japanese network television key stations and their affiliates, DOGs appear on the top-right hand corner of the screen. In addition, during some programs, a digital clock appears on the top-left corner of the screen. The digital clock had been in place on all programs prior to the introduction of DOGs in the late 1990s.
In Mexico Once TV and XEIMT-TV was the first channels to use their logos permanently in the top-right of the screen since 1997, later the channels of Televisa and Tv Azteca have been used since the 2000 and 2004 in their channels,
Morocco's TV networks usually display their DOGs permanently, notably the SNRT and 2M TV. The exception to this is Medi 1 TV, as of now being the only Moroccan TV channel so far to hide its DOG during commercial breaks.
New Zealand introduced the digital on-screen graphics in 2001, starting with TV3 and FOUR. New Zealand FTA networks would place various logos in different places. TV One currently still has the logo on the top right hand corner until July 1, 2013, when they joined TV2 to have the logo on the bottom right. The only exception to have the logo from the top right is the programme Breakfast (TVNZ). TV2 usually had the logo from the top right hand corner until New Year's Day 2012. Prime And Maori Television still use the digital on-screen graphic logo from the top right corner. Other networks would have it either top right hand corner or the bottom right hand corner.
GMA Network was first introduced DOGs in 1995, since the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board has implemented a television content rating system way back since November on that year. All of the stations started to display the DOGs after the commercial breaks, except Net 25, ETC(since 2012), and some cable channels, that continue displaying DOGs all the time. The DOGs can be seen on the upper-right corner, aligned with the TV content rating logo but on several cable channels these are placed on the upper-left corner or bottom-right corner. Formerly, ABS-CBN removed the DOG with the rating for 3 minutes before the commercial break, however, the problem was fixed in 2000, the DOG and the rating are now removed 10 seconds before the commercial break.
Polish television introduced the logos in 1992 because TP was rebranded to TVP. At that time, TVP was the only broadcaster in Poland with two channels: TVP1 and TVP2. The DOGs of TVP are white, while the PolSat one was in full-color until 1994, local TV broadcasters show the logo in full-color. Polish television removes the logo in commercials, trailers and other non-program broadcasts, except test cards. The TVP logo is always shown in the top right side of the screen.
In Russia, television channels usually have watermarks. In some channels the watermark becomes half-transparent on ad breaks, but on main channels such as Channel One or Russia-1 they never disappear nor become half-transparent.
The Serbian national television RTS began showing logos in the early 1990s. Their logo was sometimes turned on manually during certain broadcasts but shortly afterwards remained permanently on-screen. One could notice how they were manually controlled, as the "logo-free" time during the begin of a program varied. Until around 1994–1995 their logos were opaque white and black, presumably due to being inserted into the analog CVBS signal just before being broadcast instead of an analog YUV, RGB or digital SDI signal, while in the mid-1990s they upgraded to colorized but still opaque logos. RTS's predecessor RTB (Radio Television of Belgrade) had DOGs of varying sizes, but rather than being introduced one after another they appear to have been used simultaneously at different broadcast sites. At least three different sizes and styles of their opaque black-and-white logo are known today. On the satellite channel "RTS-SAT", Latin letters were used, but after the destruction of RTS headquarters in 1999 during a NATO air strike, it could be noticed how the logo appeared to have been quickly re-drawn and was being inserted by different equipment as it varied in shape and size, presumably because of the original equipment used to insert it being destroyed. Today RTS has the same opaque color logo from 1999 on RTS-SAT and new translucent logos were introduced in the 2000s for the analog terrestrial programs. Old logos remain on most archived recordings presumably due to lack of a cleanfeed archiving policy in the past, as can be seen in the "Trezor" historical series: 
Most local and regional stations and some national commercial broadcasters (Pink from 2001–present, as of September 2012, when the national news start at 18:30, clock disappears up until the end of its morning program, B92 from 2004 to 2011, Avala from 2007 until 2011) in Serbia along with station logo also show a digital clock below the logo.
Singaporean televisions began showing the channel logos during television programs in 1994. The first one was Channel 5 then, Channel 12 and lastly Channel 8. The television stations show the logo in full-color, and are usually shown in the top right of the screen. Like its neighbouring country, Malaysia, Singaporean channels remove the channel logos during commercial breaks.
Thailand introduced DOGs in 1991. Thai TV logos are in full-color, the logos are removed during commercial breaks, trade test transmissions and transitions between programs. All Thai television stations, show the logos in the top-right of the screen.
In Turkey, screen graphics, bugs, or DOGs are known as screen badges. On analogue/digital television, screen badges were introduced to One on January 1, 2000. By the end of 2000, all television channels at the time had screen badges usually located in the top right hand of the screen. Though on January 1, 2010, One got a new theme package and the screen badge was moved down to the bottom right hand of the screen. All channels' screen badges were on the bottom right of the screen by the end of 2010.
In the UK, DOGs most commonly appear in the top-left hand corner on British channels. DOGs were first used on satellite and cable television systems in their early days, when broadcasts were unmarked. Channel 5 was the first to use DOGs on an analogue terrestrial channel in 1997. The DOG was originally very bright and noticeable, and was soon toned down. Channel 5 said that the DOG was used to assist viewers in tuning to the new channel once its test transmissions had ceased. Following the rebrand to "five" in 2002 the DOG disappeared until late 2007.
There have been two known predecessors to the digital on-screen graphic on British television, namely a small white outline rectangle that was broadcast on the screen throughout ITV's broadcast of the documentary Life by Misadventure: A Film about the Seriously Burned on 7 September 1973 to warn people that may be uncomfortable with its content, and similarly, Channel 4's infamous red triangle symbol, which was applied in the corner of the screen throughout a series of controversial late-night art films broadcast 1986–87, in addition to an ident before the films began, again in both cases to warn viewers of the content.
The BBC has a DOG on each of its digital-only channels. In October 1998, it added DOGs to BBC One and BBC Two but following a large number of complaints they were removed just two months later. However, in 2014, the DOG has occasionally reappeared on BBC TWO. The DOGs appear in the top left-hand corner on other channels except BBC News (which is bottom left and forms part of integrated information graphics) and its international counterpart, BBC World News. Whilst BBC Four and BBC Parliament have static DOGs, the ones on BBC Three, CBBC and CBeebies alongside other channels such as Channel 5 and Nick Jr. feature moving elements. ITV uses DOGs on all its channels except STV, the network's franchise in central and northern Scotland, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. The ITV network's Northern Irish franchise, UTV, provide a DOG in the top left hand corner of the screen.
The logos on channels such as ITV (excluding STV), Channel 5, BBC Three, E4, E! Disney XD, Sky Arts 1 and 2, Sky1, Sky2, Sky Sports, History, and More4 are almost transparent, whereas others like those on Comedy Central, Eurosport, Playhouse Disney, the UKTV channels, CITV, CBBC, CBeebies, the Discovery channels, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Boomerang and Nickelodeon are bright and noticeable. Sky Movies, Film4 and Channel 4 do not use DOGs. Some stations display their on-screen graphics permanently. The UKTV are an example that remove them during commercials and trailers, with some Sky channels removing them altogether at certain times into a programme. In addition to a fixed (sometimes animated) motif, MTV includes the programme title in the top-right hand corner. During widescreen programmes, the DOGs on ITV, BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, CITV, CBBC, CBeebies, E4, and 4Music stay in the far corner of the screen while most other channels keep theirs within the 4:3 "title safe area".
On digital systems such as Sky and Freeview, where stations have a set EPG number and a name displayed across the bottom of the screen when changing channel, DOGs have been deemed unnecessary by some users. Despite this, broadcasters persist with the practice. In response to negative feedback, the BBC has responded, "We believe it is important to ensure that viewers can quickly identify when they are watching a BBC service." It reinforced this position in both 2008 and 2009 following continual complaints to its Points of View programme, citing channel identification as the sole reason for the policy. In its website FAQs, Five's stated reason for its use of a DOG is that "the vast majority of channels carry them, most permanently and virtually every channel at some point has one during the day." However, on 21 October 2008, the BBC announced that it was removing the DOG from BBC HD for all films and most dramas, acknowledging that there was an "irritation factor". However, the DOG came back when BBC One HD launched in 2010. More recent additions are graphics which appear near the end of a programme to tell the viewer what's up next, despite this information being available at a touch of a button on digital TV. Many viewers also find this practice annoying, distracting and unnecessary.
The first logo bug appeared on CBS Evening News in 1990. It was part of the redesign of the news broadcast done by branding design firm Novocom. The reason for its introduction was so that business professionals traveling within the US would know which channel CBS News was on since it varied in different areas. Later it was adopted by CBS on every program. Since then, the use of digital on-screen bugs among cable and broadcast networks became standardized with the bug usually placed on the lower right hand corner of the screen, with the notable exception being during the broadcasting of sports events, and on NBC, where the bug is typically placed on the bottom left during prime time programming. During sports broadcasts, NFL on Fox introduced a permanent box at the top left-hand side of the screen showing the score of the game, along with the network's logo. The "big four" networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX) began using on-screen bugs in the fall of 1993 with the bug removed during commercial breaks. Other major networks such as PBS and The CW also use logo bugs in the same manner. They are usually transparent or opaque and are gray to minimize distraction, while some cable networks (The History Channel, Nickelodeon, and CNBC) decided to use solid, full-color bugs at all times. Broadcast networks typically only use solid, full color bugs during local newscasts; at other times the bug is switched to the transparent, gray variant. Also, broadcast channels typically show their local affiliate's call sign and/or the channel number on the screen bugs during syndicated programming and local newscasts, while prime time programs and national newscasts are typically shown with only the network's bug. The use of bugs to announce upcoming programs with text advertisements is also particularly prevalent among some broadcast stations such as ABC during prime time programs and many cable TV networks; they usually appear when a program resumes after a commercial break, to inform the viewer of the next scheduled program, a new episode of a program later the same day, or a "significant" broadcast in the near future. Beginning in 2010, some networks began to display a hashtag on the lower left hand corner along with their network's logo on the lower right, during certain programs, and thus encouraging viewers to use it in posts on social networking services such as Twitter. In some occasions, it is shown at the bottom or directly next to the logo bug itself.
Vietnamese TV stations started showing their digital on screen graphical DOGs since year 2000.
Another graphic on television usually connected with sports (particularly in North America, though not in Europe) is the sponsor tag. It shows the logos of certain sponsors, accompanied by some background relevant to the game, the network logo, announcement and music of some kind.
Usage in ham radio and TV
In most countries, the ham station is required to periodically identify their amateur-TV transmission. Such stations frequently overlay their callsign on the signal instead of placing a card in the background. Most hams use homebuilt devices or old consumer character generators to generate such identifications rather than using graphical super imposes of high cost to do so. Only rarely one can see real graphics, as the callsign is usually written in the "OSD font".
Live DOGs by hobbyists
One of the easiest and most sought-after devices used to generate DOGs by hobbyists is the 1980s vintage Sony XVT-500 video superimposer. This device can luma-key a signal, capture a still frame into memory and then overlay the keyed graphic in one of eight colors onto any CVBS signal. Another method commonly used by hobbyists and even low-budgeted TV stations in former times was Amiga computers with genlock interfaces.
- Broadcast designer
- Screen burn-in, a side effect in some cases of digital on-screen graphics
- On-screen display
- Television news screen layout
- Digital watermark
- Score bug, an on-screen graphic specifically for sport broadcasts
- DOG Watch!: Hello BBC Three (Goodbye Choice)
- BBC Complaints: Digital on-screen graphics
- BBC Points of View, 11 May 2008
- BBC Points of View, 22 November 2009
- five.tv: About Five
- "BBC tones down HD channel logo". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Charlie Brooker. "Charlie Brooker's screen burn". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "How low will TV companies stoop to stop us reaching for the remote?". Telegraph.co.uk. 2 January 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- "BBC News - Doctor Who fans angered by trailer for Over the Rainbow". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Gregory Ferenstein (April 15, 2011). "Twitter TV Hashtag Tips From Twitter's Own Expert". Fast Company.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Digital on-screen graphics.|
- DOG Watch! - 625.uk.com - Website documenting and questioning the use of DOGs on British television