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Why Does SCTE 35 Matter in SSAI?

Learn more about server-side ad insertion at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete presentation at Streaming Media East, OTT 202. The State of Server-Side Ad Insertion, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Nadine Krefetz: What is SCTE?

Jason Justman: Yeah, absolutely.

Nadine Krefetz: And why is it important?

Jason Justman: Right, so, when I look at how we support ad technology across digital, you know, we started on this project about four-five years ago, the foundations for what was supported in the ecosystem for SSAI, were still very, very new. And, what's important to find, is, especially from an engineering perspective is, there's a time to boil the ocean, and then there's a time to stand on the shoulders of giants, and, one of the pieces I looked at was, well how does the cable industry do this? Okay.

And, after doing some research, essentially, there is an open technology standard by the Society of Cable Television Engineers, called SCTE 35, now, there's a lot of mysticism, a kind of black box around it, because it is a technical standard, and there is a recommendation practice, but the idea is that the cable industry, probably on a daily basis, traffics maybe like a billion dollars a day off of one bit in this specification. And, this allows, in the cable MSO ecosystem, the ability to use your simple definition to insert a pre-emptible advertisement in an avail, so that means from the national syndicated feed, to a regional, to a local, to a zonal, and up to the addressable level. But it's all triggered off of this one bit called "Out of Network."

And what that means is when I am playing out content from the cloud or live programming from an NFL football game, the idea is that that out-of-network bit is set to zero. And that means that you're taking the network programming the distributor programming for your audience. As soon as that bit turns to one, then it opens up the opportunity for a downstream splice to a code. And that downstream in the ecosystem, regardless of anything else that happens, the whole foundation is built off of this one bit in this binary payload.

Now for most software engineers, that's easy to do, right? They understand how to build those, but for most ad operations specialists, most integration specialists, that's way too hard to be able to create that. So the challenge comes in is over the past couple of years, a number of products in market have added support for this because what we're starting to see is the unification between MSO integration and broadcast and digital use cases for advertising. So they're doing a SCTE insertion? Yeah, we're starting to move that way in the industry for ad decisioning and server-side ad insertion because the content that usually is cross-simulcast has those baked in. And there's no point reinventing the wheel if someone has already done it for you from the distributor perspective. No.

Geir Magnusson: Right, everything we get has that. Okay. And why is it important again, just in plain English? It is important because? Because someone else has figured out how to make billions of dollars on using this, and if we don't do it, then we're missing out. And it's there Okay. Or, you have the ability to replace an ad, right? Well it's there, that's the fundamental thing is a little flag comes by and says you can start here you have X number of seconds and then the next number of seconds, if everything aligns, a little flag comes back and says you're out, go back to the content. It's much shorter, simpler, it's bit comes up, you have the time, you can put in your stream, bit goes down, it's gotta go back to the underlying stream from the content owner. From our perspective, that's how we look at it.

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